In a previous article, I presented an overview of Tea and Coronary Disease. But managing cholesterol is not limited to benefits for heart health. In addition to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, peripheral and artery disease, unhealthy levels of lipids (cholesterol) are factors in lupus, diabetes, and many diseases affected by inflammation.
It is essential to recognize that drinking tea is only one of the lifestyle changes you can make to manage cholesterol. But it also supports the other available “tools” that keep your blood flowing and your arteries healthy. Taking a whole-of-body approach that includes the total diet, consistent and meaningful exercise as well as good sleep need to be considered. Importantly, consuming Camellia sinensis reduces harmful cholesterol and creates a better environment for healthy cholesterol .
What is cholesterol?
There are two kinds of cholesterol that a healthy body needs to keep in balance. One is the “bad” form – low-density lipoprotein – LDL – that is the cause of excess and dangerous plaque forming in the bloodstream. The other is the “good” form – high-density lipoprotein – HDL – that directs fats to the liver where they can be managed and kept in a healthy balance. The liver keeps a beneficial amount of cholesterol in the body and eliminates excess. Many studies demonstrate how true tea, Camellia sinensis, does this. (See studies below.)
How do unhealthy levels of cholesterol cause disease?
When levels of bad cholesterol increase, the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream coagulate and form plaque that both hardens along the inner surface of the blood vessels and accumulates so that it narrows the path through which blood can flow. These lipids are prevented from going to the liver, where they can be safely eliminated from the body. Drinking tea and conusming other foods known to contain high levels of antioxidents helps remove this buildup of lipids and helps keep the vessel walls smooth to support blood flow and good circulation.
What is better for managing cholesterol with tea: Green Tea or Black Tea?
There is still no conclusive and reproducable study establishing a significant difference between consuming green tea or black tea relative to the way in which the catechins in each one help manage cholesterol. Both show benefits in human consumption as well as in the laboratory studies on animals.
One of the issues we face when we compare scientific studies on tea is the difference between amount of control we have over the tea we drink vs. laboratory accurate tea concentrates. And we will always face these issues when comparing large groups of people who include tea as only one component of their total dietary and health plan. We must always remember that the quality of the tea we drink increases the potential for health benefits.
So, whether we prefer green or black, drinking more of the freshest tea is a common sense way of managing cholesterol with tea.
Research into Managing Cholesterol with Tea
Effect of Camellia sinensis on Fat Peroxidation and Ox-LDL in Rats. Abdulaali Azeez A, Mohammed Mustafa E, Mahrouf Ali Shoshin O.Arch Razi Inst. 2021 Oct 31;76(4):949-955. doi: 10.22092/ari.2021.355927.1737. October 2021 Oct.PMID (Free PMC article.)
Green Tea usage was found to be advantageous in reducing Ox-LDL and lipid peroxidation in rats. These results confirm the traditionally claimed benefits of GT for protection against lipid peroxidation and atherosclerosis.
Black tea consumption and serum cholesterol concentration: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Zhao Y, Asimi S, Wu K, Zheng J, Li D. Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):612-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID: 24972454.
Black tea consumption significantly lowered serum concentration of LDL cholesterol, especially in subjects with higher cardiovascular risk. Black tea intake did not impose obvious effect on serum concentrations of total and HDL cholesterol.
We performed a search in 3 databases for meta-analyses and compared them with studies they subsumed. We performed an additional search for subsequent studies to determine whether the conclusions were consistent.
Conclusion: Thus, the strength of this evidence supports the hypothesis that tea consumption might lower the risk of stroke.
What’s Health About Tea; A series of 20 articles based on the book, “The Everything Healthy Tea Book”
- What’s The Healthiest Tea?
- A Glimpse of Tea’s Journey from Field To Cup
- EGCG: Understanding the Health Benefits of Tea
- Tea’s Power as an Antioxidant & Apoptosis Support
- Caffeine and L-Theanine In Tea
- Quantum Dots From Tea Extract Treat Disease
- An Overview of How Tea Helps Prevent and Fight Disease
- Tea And Cancer; The Evidence of Health and Well-Being
- Tea and Dementia; Can a Tea Lifestyle offer Protection Against Cognitive Decline?
- Tea & Dementia; A Tea Drinker’s Anti-Dementia Worksheet