Human cultures have enjoyed sipping on soul-warming cups of tea since antiquity. Now, this ancient beverage may hold the solution to one of the biggest killers of the modern age: high blood pressure.
Nearly half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Despite the prevalence of pharmaceutical medication designed to reduce blood pressure, nearly half a million Americans died from the condition during 2018 alone.
Scientists have known about the ability of tea to regulate blood pressure for some time. Previously, researchers reported how tea manages to achieve this by relaxing muscles in arteries and lowering inflammation.
Now, a group from the University of California have uncovered how tea produces these beneficial effects. Both black and green tea contain two unique flavonoid compounds that bind to specific receptors in the body in a lock and key fashion.
When these molecules latch onto these sites, they cause potassium (a vital mineral) to leave cells. In turn, this causes the cells to become less excitable. As the muscles that line arteries relax, blood pressure drops as the arteries widen.
Not only do these key findings further justify the use of tea as a natural means to regulate blood pressure, but they might also open the doorway for new strategies to treat hypertension.