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How to Improve Blood Flow by Drinking Tea

A cup of black tea with a meal might help insulin work better and improve blood flow by reducing resistance in the blood vessels.
How to Improve Blood Flow by Drinking Tea

People with insulin resistance have trouble getting sugar from the blood into tissue cells after meals. But a new study suggests that a cup of black tea might help with that problem partly by finding a way to improve blood flow.

Scientists Study How to Improve Blood Flow:

The scientists compared the effects of nitrate-rich beet juice and flavonoid-rich black tea on blood flow and insulin response in 16 volunteers. All were male, obese and insulin resistant.

Previous studies have shown that beet juice (beetroot juice in British English) can make blood vessels more flexible, improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Flavonoids similar to those in black tea also have beneficial effects on blood vessels. How do they compare?

Each participant was given 75 grams of glucose in combination with black tea, beet juice or water. After each dose (given on separate days) blood flow was studied.

Black Tea Gave the Best Results:

Black tea reduced the resistance in all the blood vessels studied, including the tiny ones (microvessels). Beet juice reduced resistance only in some of the blood vessels (not in microvessels or conduit arteries).

Black Tea to Lower Insulin Resistance as Well as Vascular Resistance:

The insulin response was almost 30 percent lower after the participants drank black tea. Diminished vascular resistance and reduced insulin response are both beneficial reactions.

The researchers suggest further studies to determine whether long-term tea consumption could affect blood sugar control as well as improve blood flow. This would be especially helpful for people with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Nutrition & Metabolism, online May 13, 2016

Other Flavonoid-Rich Foods:

There are many other foods that contain flavonoids that may be beneficial. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in these plant compounds, which could help explain why the DASH diet helps lower blood pressure. If you would like more details on how to follow a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), you may be interested in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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