This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.
A Word about Black Tea
Black and green teas are both derived from the same plant. Black tea is produced by fermenting tea leaves. Thus the catechins that are present in green tea are fermented to theaflavins in black tea. Theaflavins have been studied recently and found to have unique beneficial effect for cardiovascular health that go beyond the effects shown by catechins. While catechins may be more potent as antioxidants, the theaflavins support the cardiovascular system by enhancing endothelial health. A recent study found that green tea and black tea are equally effective in supporting blood vessel vasodilation and nitric oxide (NO) production.35 Theaflavins also have potential liver-protective properties. A study found that theaflavins prevented the accumulation of lipids in the liver, suppressed the synthesis of fatty acids and stimulated fat breakdown in both laboratory and animal experiments, indicating an ability to support fat metabolism and promote liver health.36
Furthermore, theaflavins may help with maintaining cholesterol levels that are already in the normal range.37 A theaflavin-enriched green tea extract was administered to 240 adult men and women in a placebo-controlled study conducted in China. The researchers found that the theaflavin-enriched green tea combination was significantly more effective than the placebo pill at supporting normal cholesterol levels when given in conjunction with a low-fat diet plan. Thus, while green tea catechins are highly beneficial, theaflavins from black tea are important compounds with cardio-protective properties.
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35. Lorenz M, Urban J, Engelhardt U, Baumann G, Stangl K, Stangl V. Green and black tea are equally potent stimuli of NO production and vasodilation: new insights into tea ingredients involved. Basic Res Cardiol 2009;104(1):100-10.
36. Lin CL, Huang HC, Lin JK. Theaflavins attenuate hepatic lipid accumulation through activating AMPK in human HepG2 cells. J Lipid Res 2007;48(11):2334-43.
37. Maron DJ, Lu GP, Cai NS, Wu ZG, Li YH, Chen H, Zhu JQ, Jin XJ, Wouters BC, Zhao J. Cholesterol-lowering effect of a theaflavinenriched green tea extract: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 2003;163(12):1448-53.