Can Hibiscus Oust Hypertension?
Put on the kettle! Yes, recent studies show that hibiscus tea can help to lower blood pressure. Published in the Journal of Nutrition (2010), one study showed that those who drank three cups of hibiscus tea had a 7.2 drop in systolic blood pressure. Experts think this might be due to the flavonoids, which can help dilate blood vessels. These results show that it could help to treat those with problems like hypertension.
“About one-third of the weight of a tea leaf is flavonoids, which is high, especially when you consider that they are accompanied by virtually no calories,” Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory and chair of the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health, explains.
To get the most flavonoids from tea, steep in hot water. Cold-brewed tea and powdered mixes generally don’t achieve the same flavonoid levels.
“Although the evidence toward these benefits is promising, more research is needed to determine what dose to take,” Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic explains. “Medical professionals already know that hibiscus can react with certain drugs and that it isn’t good for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor prior to taking hibiscus.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million American adults (31 percent) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults.
“If we were able to reduce blood pressure just slightly and shift the entire population to a lower blood pressure, that would have a significant impact in terms of reduced numbers of people with hypertension and its consequences for cardiovascular disease,” Blumberg says. “Small, modest, long-term benefits on blood pressure can be very important from the public-health point of view.”
This tasty Hibiscus leaf can often found in many floral tea blends such as Red Zinger. If you need more flavor, add lemon or citrus juice. For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.
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