Evidence is mounting that tea should be added to the list of fruits and vegetables experts urge Americans to eat as often as possible to reduce their risk of disease. ?In some respects, it is good to think of tea as a plant food,? Jeffrey Blumberg, a nutritionist at Tufts University in Boston, told a news conference at a September meeting sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture and other groups.
Tea is loaded with phytochemicals?a wide range of molecules that can act as antioxidants?and compounds called catechins, which can apparently help lower cholesterol. In a USDA study, participants were given a tea-like beverage for 3 weeks. For a second 3-week period, the same volunteers received 5 cups a day of tea to drink.
The study found that blood lipids in the volunteers, when they drank tea, had up to 10% lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. In addition, total cholesterol was lowered 6% on average over the 3 weeks of tea drinking.