During the 23rd scientific meeting of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) on “Hypertension and Cardiovascular Protection,” a group of French researchers presented findings that the flavonoids contained in tea or coffee might lower blood pressure. Furthermore, drinking tea and coffee is associated with a significant reduction in pulse pressure and heart rate, although the heart-rate reductions were greater with tea.
Dr. Bruno Pannier (Centre d’Investigations Préventives et Cliniques, Paris), who presented the findings, explained that while previous studies have suggested a link between drinking coffee and tea and hypertension, they weren’t conclusive.
Between 2001 and 2011, 176,437 subjects (aged 16 to 95) who had a checkup at the Parisian center were given a questionnaire asking how much coffee or tea they drank a day. They were classified into three groups: those who drank no coffee or tea, those who drank 1 to 4 cups, and those who drank more than 4 cups.
According to the findings, coffee drinking is significantly associated with smoking, higher cholesterol levels, and higher scores on stress and depression measurements. Tea consumption, on the other hand, was associated with lower cholesterol levels, but similarly high scores on the stress and depression indexes.
Pannier explained that despite limitations in the study, such as no differentiation between types of tea or how much caffeine content of the coffee, “tea is a major source of flavonoids in the diet, and these compounds can improve vasodilation” ― the dilatation of blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure. Flavonoids are a group of compounds found in plants and plant-based foods that seem to have antioxidant properties that may lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions.
In a smaller study of 95 men and women, researchers at the University of Western Australia found that drinking black tea, a common source of flavonoids, reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.
A third study of 111 men and women, also found that lower blood pressure was a result of the flavonoid in black tea, not the caffeine. If you’re concerned about whether you can add milk, rest assured ― there are even studies showing that this won’t dilute the positive effect of tea on your blood pressure.