Drinking tea is a great way to relax and hydrate, but it may be the composition of the tea that provides the best vibes for health. Thanks to dietary bioactives known as flavonoids found naturally in tea leaves and countless other plant-based foods, tea can help support a healthy heart.
Flavonoids possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect against heart disease and other chronic conditions. “When the body is exposed to what we call oxidative stress, such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, or disease, our cells and tissues become inflamed,” says Kristina Petersen Ph.D., assistant professor of nutritional sciences. in Texas. “Flavonoids, particularly from green tea, neutralize this stress and reduce inflammation.”
In short, flavonoids help ensure that our bodies function optimally. “Once flavonoids enter the bloodstream, they are transported to various tissues and cells, where they interact with the molecular mechanisms involved in [hindering] disease processes,” says Benjamin Haddon Parmenter, research associate and Ph.D. candidate in Australia studying the benefits of flavonoids.
Read more below about some specific health benefits of flavonoids, the best food and drink sources to consume them, and how much you need for optimal wellness.
Benefits of 2-3 cups of tea a day
A recent study in Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology found that those who eat a diet rich in flavonoids are much less likely to have a buildup of abdominal aortic calcification, an important marker of heart disease and stroke. “Increased consumption of dietary flavonoids also appears to help lower cholesterol and blood sugar,” says Parmenter, the study’s principal investigator.
Specifically, Parmenter and colleagues found that women who consumed the most black tea, around two to six cups of tea per day, were 16% and 42% less likely, respectively, to have extensive abdominal aortic calcification than those who did not. they drank cups of tea. .
The flavonoids in the tea might also play an important role in brain cognition. “Recent scientific studies suggest that flavonoids protect brain cells from toxins and fight inflammation,” says Parmenter. “Research links a higher long-term intake of flavonoid-rich foods with a lower risk of dementia.”
The main sources of flavonoids
The aforementioned benefits make a strong case for adopting a flavonoid-rich eating pattern, such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. The latter stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Try to eat these plant-based foods every day:
Drinking tea daily can have impressive benefits, as tea is one of the main sources of flavonoids in the diet. For reference, a cup of Lipton black and green tea brewed without sugar contains approximately 170 mg and 150 mg, respectively, of flavonoids. “clinical trials have shown that just two to three cups of black tea a day can have an impact on blood pressure,” says Dr. Petersen. “Almost 50% of adults have high blood pressurea key risk factor for heart disease and, if left unchecked, can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, cognitive decline, and more.”
Get your daily dose:Try one of the Lipton teas below any time of the day. When brewing, steep the tea bag in boiling water for at least 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the variety, following the package directions before taking a sip. This will ensure that you get the flavor and flavonoids that you and your body will enjoy.
Fruits and vegetables
Another great way to boost your flavonoids is to visit the produce section of your supermarket. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to help meet the recommended daily intake of 400-600 mg of flavan-3-ols (a subgroup of flavonoids) per day. Learn more about the flavonoid content of select foods like berries, apples, oranges, kale, and red onions here.
Get your daily dose: Make a game of how many colors you can eat each day. For example, a day to eat the rainbow might look like this: purple: beets and grapes; blue—blueberries; green: kale and celery; yellow: spaghetti squash and banana; orange: bell peppers and oranges; and red—strawberries and tomatoes. The fruit can be eaten on its own or added to smoothies, yogurt, or cereal (including oatmeal). For vegetables, make spinach or kale salads for lunch and/or dinner with additional bell peppers and onions.
make sure you get enough flavonoids
The best way to ensure adequate flavonoid intake to reap all of the above benefits is to drink unsweetened green or black tea daily, in addition to following the USDA recommendations for 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables each day.
Enjoy your brewed tea without sugar either hot or cold, as the flavonoid content does not vary with temperature.