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Take Heart! The Flavonoid Antioxidants in Tea May be Good for Cardiovascular Health-News From Americ

14 years, 1 month ago

2280  0
Posted on Nov 10, 2005, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Research presented at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) annual meeting revealed that tea provides more flavonoid antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the U.S. diet. Other studies presented at the conference indicated that tea flavonoid antioxidants might provide a myriad of health benefits, including reduced risk for heart disease, control of metabolic syndrome and blood glucose regulation as well as emerging neuroprotective effects.

Research presented at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) annual meeting revealed that tea provides more flavonoid antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the U.S. diet. Other studies presented at the conference indicated that tea flavonoid antioxidants might provide a myriad of health benefits, including reduced risk for heart disease, control of metabolic syndrome and blood glucose regulation as well as emerging neuroprotective effects.

"Several studies have found that drinking tea may be good for the heart due to power of flavonoid antioxidants - the antioxidants found in tea," said Douglas Balentine, Ph.D., Director Nutrition Sciences North America, who presented at the ADA Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo about the role of dietary flavonoids in health. "For most Americans, drinking a cup of tea a day - hot or cold, black or green - will nearly double their current intake of flavonoid antioxidants."

In a presentation titled "Potential Health Benefits of Dietary Flavonoids" Balentine presented the latest findings about tea consumption and human health. Here are highlights from the presentation:

Tea Contributes More Than 85 Percent of Flavonoids in U.S. Diet

Antioxidants are known to help protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals contributes to aging and cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that are known to be biologically active and are found primarily in plant-based foods and beverages, including fruits and vegetables, chocolate, red wine and regular tea. Tea, the primary source of flavonoid antioxidants in the U.S. diet, contains approximately 125 mg flavonoids per cup (225ml).

Populations with higher intakes of dietary flavonoids have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Clinical and mechanistic studies have demonstrated that dietary flavonoids, especially the catechin class, may help improve cardiovascular health by improving endothelial function, reducing inflammation in the vascular endothelium, and by reducing platelet activity. A recent analysis of the Nurses Health Cohort found that tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Emerging evidence suggests that flavonoids may also play a role in maintaining blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

Using data from the national nutrition monitoring surveys (CFSIII) and the USDA Database describing the flavonoid content of foods, a research team from Exponent, a scientific research firm, found that the average flavonoid intake of U.S. consumers is 134.0 mg/day. Beverages were found to be the major contributors of dietary flavonoids in this study, with an average of 125.0 mg/day. Tea was found to provide 117mg/day of dietary flavonoids or 87 percent of the dietary flavonoids in the U.S. diet. The data presented by Exponent adds to similar data presented earlier this year from Michigan State University researchers, who also found tea to be the leading source of flavonoid antioxidants in the U.S. diet.

Green and Black Tea are Both Metabolically Active

New research conducted at the Unilever Food Research Centre in Vlaardingen, The Netherlands and the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, U.K. used nutritional metabonomics to determine whether green and black teas are metabolically equal. The study included 14 healthy males who were given a daily dose of equal amounts of green tea solids, black tea solids or 360 mg caffeine (control) in a randomized crossover design study. Metabonomics is a new research technique that uses complex modeling to assess metabolic effects of dietary interventions in the body. The study found that black and green tea resulted in a comparable increase in the urinary excretion of flavonoid metabolites.

"These results indicate that similar amounts of flavonoids from both green and black tea are taken up by the body and are metabolized in a similar way," explained Balentine. "This means that both black and green tea can contribute dietary flavonoids to the body." However, the metabonomics study suggests that green tea was more effective than black tea in inducing metabolites associated with energy metabolism.

Flavonoids in Green Tea May Help Prevent Alzheimer's

Recent research reported in the September issue of The Journal of Neuroscience found that green tea catechin EGCG, was capable of reducing biomarkers linked to Alzheimer's disease in animal models. Alzheimer's disease is one of several neurodegenerative diseases that is thought to be linked to free radicals and ensuing inflammation and impaired blood flow to the brain and surrounding tissues. Research shows that oxidative stress from the daily effects of living, normal metabolism, exercise and environmental pollutants and toxins such as sunlight and carbon monoxide result in the production of free radicals. Other studies show that diets or dietary compounds that help improve blood flow and heart health, such as antioxidants found in green or black tea, may also promote good blood flow to the brain and nervous system. A research team in Israel found that EGCG, a flavonoid found in both black and green teas, is effective in blocking damage to nerve cells in models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.

"While more research is needed to further define the role of green tea and neurodegenerative diseases, the emerging science suggests that tea flavonoids may help maintain healthy cognitive function by reducing nerve damage as aging occurs," said Balentine.

Together, the new tea research presented by Balentine adds to many existing studies that indicate drinking tea regularly is healthful, and it may help reduce risk for many chronic, degenerative diseases. For optimal health benefits, tea should be consumed as part of a balanced diet containing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products.

Lipton(R) Teas, made from real tea leaves, feature the AOX(TM) Seal, a proprietary mark that indicates a substantial level of antioxidants. Certified by the Unilever Health Institute in The Netherlands, the AOX(TM) Seal is unique to Lipton(R) products and can be found on many green and black teas, including tea bags, Green Tea Iced Tea Mix, Lipton To Go and most ready- to-drink bottled iced teas.

About American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE)

The American Dietetic Association provides the oversight and professional accreditation to nearly 65,000 registered dietitians and dietetic technicians. The ADA is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals in the United States. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well being. At the ADA's FNCE annual meeting, the media and the food industry together address critical food and nutrition issues that impact consumers.

About Lipton(R) Teas

Lipton(R), the world's leading tea brand, is committed to bringing consumers great tasting, healthy tea products in a variety of convenient forms. Innovative Lipton(R) Iced Tea To Go Sticks allow consumers to add the natural goodness of tea to water - for the great taste of tea even when they're on the go! Lipton(R) Original Ready to Drink is the only leading national bottled iced tea brand made with fresh brewed tea, not from powders or concentrate. Lipton(R) Ready to Drink Iced Tea, is a great tasting product with naturally protective antioxidants - available in a convenient plastic bottle. Hot or cold, black or green, Lipton(R) is the leader in tea offering a range of great tasting, healthy products for today's health conscious consumer.

Visit to order Lipton(R) Teas online, or use the product locator to find a store that carries your favorite Lipton(R) products. At you can learn about tea and health and watch a demonstration of the power of the antioxidants found in Lipton(R) Teas.

About Unilever

Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer products companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers make 150 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out of life.

In the United States these brands include recognized names such as: Axe, "all," Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Lipton, Knorr, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever in the United States employs more than 15,000 people in 74 office and manufacturing sites in 24 states and Puerto Rico - generating approximately $10 billion in sales in 2004. For more information visit

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