Drinking eight cups of black leaf tea, such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast, a day significantly lowers blood pressure and prevents heart disease, researchers have found.
In the study by researchers at the University of Western Australia, volunteers with normal to high blood pressure were given three drinks a day containing 429 milligrams of the plant chemicals polyphenols – the equivalent of eight and a half teas a day.
A second group were given a tea-flavoured placebo.
After six months, the blood pressure of the tea-drinking group had fallen by between two and three mmHg, the measurement of pressure used in medicine.
A blood pressure fluctuating with the heartbeat between 112 and 63 mmHg is considered healthy, while a reading fluctuating between 140 and 90 is deemed high.
If taken in general population, the number of people with high blood pressure would be cut by ten per cent and the risk of heart disease would fall by between seven and ten per cent, the Telegraph reported.
“Our study has demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that long-term regular consumption of black tea can result in significantly lower blood pressures in individuals with normal to high-normal range blood pressures,” the team, led by Dr Jonathan Hodgson, wrote in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
Previous studies suggest adding milk to tea does not affect the body''s ability to absorb polyphenols.
Green tea is widely considered to have numerous health benefits because it is high in antioxidants. It is said to aid weight loss, prevent glaucoma, reduce the risk of cancer and even treat acne.