Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular health
Author: Jonathan M. Hodgson and Kevin D. Croft
The two main types of tea are green and black. Both green and black teas are rich dietary sources of flavonoids. Available evidence suggests that regular tea consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The cardiovascular health benefits of drinking tea are thought to be largely due to flavonoids. Tea intake and intake of flavonoids found in tea have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in cross-sectional and prospective population studies. Isolated flavonoids found in tea have also been consistently shown to inhibit the development of atherosclerosis in animal models. A number of possible pathways and mechanisms have been investigated. There is now consistent data indicating that tea and tea flavonoids can enhance nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function, which may be at least partly responsible for benefits on cardiovascular health. There is also evidence, although limited, to suggest benefits of green tea (flavonoids) on body weight and body fatness. Data supporting reduced oxidative damage, inflammation, platelet activation, blood pressure, and risk of type 2 diabetes with tea (flavonoids) remains inadequate to draw any conclusions.