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Black tea may reduce your blood pressure

Three cups of black tea a day may reduce your blood pressure.

A six month study by scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA), Unilever and the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia suggests that regular consumption of black tea may help to lower people's systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The research, now published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, is the first of its kind to show that long term black tea consumption may have this effect.

"High blood pressure can significantly impact on people's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so this is a very significant discovery," said Professor Jonathan Hodgson at UWA. "There is already mounting evidence that tea is good for your heart health, but this is an important discovery because it is evidence of a link between the two.”

In the study, 95 Australian participants aged between 35 and 75 were recruited to drink either three cups of black tea, or a placebo with the same flavour and caffeine content, but not derived from tea.

After the six month period, the research found that compared to the placebo, participants who drank black tea of the six month period had a lower 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure of between 2 and 3mmHg.

More research is required to better understand how tea may reduce blood pressure, although earlier studies reported a potential link between tea consumption and the improved health of people’s blood vessels .

“This is a hugely exciting development for us,” said Jane Rycroft, senior nutrition and health manager at Unilever’s Research & Development laboratories.

“This is further evidence to suggest that tea and its natural ingredients can help people become healthier. While a 2-3mmHg decrease is a small change to an individual’s blood pressure, it’s tantalising to think what positive impact this could have on reducing the risk of heart disease among the general public.”

Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, after water. Unilever is the world's largest tea company, making brands including Lipton, PG Tips and Brooke Bond. Every year, consumers in more than 130 countries drink 117 billion cups of Unilever tea.

ENDS

For further information or to organise an interview, please contact:

Imogen England

Res Publica

02 8297 1504

iengland@respublica.com.au

About Unilever

Unilever works to create a better future every day. Our company helps people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading fast-moving consumer goods companies, with strong local roots in more than 100 countries. Globally, Unilever has around 163,000 employees, and in 2009 generated annual sales of €40 billion. In Australasia, Unilever employs more than 1,600 people, and has offices and manufacturing facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Unilever’s portfolio features some of the world’s best-known household names. In Australasia, our name brands include Flora, Lipton, Bushells, Dove, Rexona, Vaseline, Omo, Surf, Continental, Chicken Tonight and Streets.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com

Unilever R&D involves over 6,000 professionals, six strategic centres for global R&D and 31 major product development centres. The strategic centres are located in Trumbull, US, Port Sunlight and Colworth in the UK, Vlaardingen in The Netherlands, Bangalore in India and Shanghai in China. In 2010, our investment in R&D was around €1bn.

Imogen England

02 8297 1504
iengland@respublica.com.au

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