Tea may help keep blood flowing after fatty meal

March 5, 2002 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Tea may help keep blood flowing after fatty meal

An after-dinner cup of tea might help counteract some of the harmful effects of a fatty meal, a preliminary report from Japan suggests.

When people consume a high-fat meal, their blood lipid levels can become elevated. This in turn can trigger the production of damaging oxygen-free radicals, which may cause blood vessels to temporarily stiffen and constrict, particularly in people who already have cardiovascular disease.

But antioxidants in tea may help mop up these free radicals, thereby keeping the blood vessels supple and promoting healthy blood flow. In a small study, Japanese researchers evaluated the effects of two high-fat meals in 10 healthy volunteers aged 21 to 38. The meals contained equal amounts of fat (79%) but during one meal participants drank black tea, while during the other they drank water.

Results showed that forearm blood flow was strongest following the meal that included the tea, suggesting that the antioxidants in tea helped to keep blood vessels functioning properly. Tests also revealed that the antioxidant capacity of the participants' blood was greatest after they had consumed the meal that included tea.

In people with heart disease, a single fatty meal can be the trigger for a heart attack. And in healthy people, regular consumption of fatty meals contributes to the development of hardening of the arteries. Drinking tea with a meal may be an effective ways to counteract the stress on blood vessels that can result from fat intake.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.