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Drinking Black Tea May Lower Blood Pressure

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 4:45am
The Associated Press

A six month study by scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA), Unilever and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia suggests that people who drink black tea throughout the day may get the benefit of a slight reduction in their blood pressure.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and Unilever Research and Development, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120223/DC58308) Before the study started, the participants' blood pressure throughout the day was about 121/72 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Blood pressure readings less than or equal to 120/180 mm Hg are considered normal.

The research, now published in the Archives of Internal Medicine(1), is the first of its kind to show that drinking black tea may have this effect.

"High blood pressure can significantly impact people's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so this is a very significant discovery," said Professor Jonathan Hodgson at UWA. "There is already mounting evidence that tea is good for your heart health, but this is an important discovery because it is evidence of a link between the two." In the study, 95 Australian participants aged 35 to 75 were recruited to drink either three cups of black tea or another beverage similar in taste and caffeine content, but not derived from tea, daily for six months.

After the six month period the research found that the tea drinkers' systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure fell between 2 and 3 mm Hg compared to non-tea drinkers.

More research is required to better understand how tea may reduce blood pressure, although earlier studies reported a potential link between tea consumption and the improved health of people's blood vessels(2).

"This is a hugely exciting development for us," said Jane Rycroft, senior nutrition and health manager at Unilever's Research & Development laboratories.

"This is further evidence to suggest that tea and its natural ingredients can help people become healthier. While a 2-3 mm Hg decrease is a small change to an individual's blood pressure, it's tantalising to think what positive impact this could have on reducing the risk of heart disease among the general public." Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, after water.

Unilever is the world's largest tea company, making brands including Lipton and PG Tips. Every year, consumers in more than 130 countries drink 117 billion cups of Unilever tea.

Note: Individuals with high blood pressure should consult their physicians for medical advice and treatment.

About Unilever North America Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in 180. With products that are used over two billion times a day around the world, we work to create a better future every day and help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. In the United States and Canada the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Consort For Men, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, fds, Good Humor, Hellmann's, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, Just for Me!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Motions, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond's, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Ragu, Simple, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Soft & Beautiful, St. Ives, Suave, tcb, TIGI, TRESemme, Vaseline, and Wish-Bone. 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 employs more than 13,000 people across North America - generating over $9 billion in sales in 2011. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com or www.unilever.ca.

Unilever R&D involves over 6,000 professionals, six strategic centres for global R&D and 31 major product development centres. The strategic centres are located in Trumbull, US, Port Sunlight and Colworth in the UK, Vlaardingen in The Netherlands, Bangalore in India and Shanghai in China. In 2010, our investment in R&D was around 1bn euros.

(1)Hodgson, JM, Puddey, IB, Woodman, RJ, et.al. Effects of black tea on blood pressure: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med.

2012;172(2):186-188.

(2)Ras RT, Zock PL, Draijer R. Tea consumption enhances endothelial-dependent vasodilation; a meta-analysis. PLoS One.

2011;6:e16974.

Media Contact Joey-lyn Addesa 212-299-8964 Joey-lyn.Addesa@zenogroup.com SOURCE Unilever North America -0- 02/23/2012 /Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120223/DC58308 AP PhotoExpress Network: ADD PRN? PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com CO: Unilever North America ST: New Jersey IN: HEA FOD SU: SVY PRN -- DC58308 -- 0000 02/23/2012 14:00:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.c

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