Here’s a health tip to help you keep rising cholesterol in check: drink more tea! Researchers from the Department of Applied Science, the National Hsinchu University of Education in Taiwan have discovered that three teas in particular could protect you from high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The Taiwanese research team evaluated the hypolipidemic (high blood cholesterol) effect of these four different tea leaves: green; black; oolong; and pu-erh.
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The study involved male rats who were feed a high-fructose diet for 12 weeks. The results showed that a fructose-rich diet significantly elevated cholesterol, insulin, and leptin concentrations, as compared with those in the control group.
Significantly, consuming tea leaves for 12 weeks almost normalized triglyceride concentrations. Triglycerides are a mechanism for storing unused calories, and their high concentrations in your blood could be linked to the consumption of starchy and fatty foods. Rats fed with fructose/green tea and fructose/pu-erh tea showed the greatest reduction in serum triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin and leptin levels. In contrast, serum cholesterol and insulin concentrations of the fructose/oolong tea-fed rats did not normalize.
The relative fat tissue weight was lower in all rats supplemented with tea leaves than in those fed with fructose alone. The research team concluded that these findings suggest that the intake of green, black and pu-erh tea leaves could lower high cholesterol in a high-fructose diet.
Never heard of pu-erh tea before? Here are five facts to help you out:
1. Pu-erh tea is named after the small town in the Yunnan province called Pu-erh from which the tea is harvested
2. Pu-erh tea is supposedly a very ancient strain of tea
3. Drinking pu-erh tea could help with digestion (particularly of fatty foods) after a heavy meal
4. You usually buy Pu-erh in a compressed state rather than as loose leaves. The leaves are pressed together during processing into a variety of shapes. The “tea bricks” were once used as currency! To drink the tea, just shave off some tea from the brick or ball into your teapot and add boiling water.
5. Pu-erh tea — like wine — is said to taste better with age. There are some very old samples of pu-erh tea, but they are also very expensive to buy.