Green tea has received a lot of attention as the "healthy tea" because it has been associated with improved blood vessel function and a lower risk of dying from heart disease. It has been suggested that this may be because green tea has more catechins, a type of flavonoid, than black tea does. However, recent research has suggested black tea and even coffee may also protect against heart disease.
Drinking a lot of green tea or black tea (possibly up to six cups a day) may help prevent heart disease. Moderate coffee intake (about two to four cups a day) also seems to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease than drinking more or less or no coffee.
But these studies have not been conclusive, and more research is needed, especially before any recommendations can be made about how much tea or coffee to drink. In addition, many studies have been conducted on healthy people who do not have heart disease, so it is not known if the benefits apply to people who already have heart disease. So, don't feel you should begin to drink tea or coffee for your heart health. But if you already drink tea or coffee, it may be helping your heart. Just be sure to remember the following:
- Iced tea and iced coffee count, too.
- Add nonfat or 1-percent milk instead of cream or half-and-half.
- Skip flavored syrups and sugar or use a sugar substitute, if necessary.
- Ask your doctor about caffeine and whether you should avoid or limit it.