What is the best tea to drink to lower cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Making dietary changes is important for lowering cholesterol naturally. Drinking tea may help lower cholesterol and protect heart health due to beneficial plant compounds. Here are some of the top teas to drink to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular types of tea, and it’s also one of the healthiest choices for lowering cholesterol. The key active ingredients in green tea are antioxidants called catechins, particularly one called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Research shows that drinking green tea can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels.

In a 2011 review of 14 randomized controlled trials with over 1100 participants total, drinking green tea was found to significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. On average, drinking green tea lowered total cholesterol by 7.2 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol by 2.2 mg/dL.

Green tea may help lower cholesterol in a few ways. The catechins in green tea may reduce cholesterol absorption in the gut and aid the liver in processing cholesterol. The antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation in arteries while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.

To maximize the cholesterol-lowering effects, drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day. Bottled green tea products may not provide the same benefits due to lower catechin levels after processing.

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha is a type of powdered, high-grade green tea. It’s made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves and contains even more antioxidants than regular green tea. Given its concentrated form, matcha green tea may lower cholesterol levels more effectively.

According to a 2020 review study, matcha tea significantly reduces total and LDL cholesterol compared to regular green tea. Multiple studies in the analysis showed that drinking matcha tea can lower cholesterol markers by 5–15%.

Matcha also contains a compound called theanine, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure levels. This makes matcha a great choice for overall heart health.

For best results, drink 1 cup of matcha green tea daily. Opt for ceremonial grade matcha powder and mix it thoroughly to avoid clumping.

Black Tea

Black tea is another excellent choice for lowering cholesterol. It’s one of the most commonly consumed teas worldwide. Theaflavins, a type of antioxidant found in black tea, have been shown to help lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.

According to a 2001 study in 95 patients with mildly elevated cholesterol, drinking black tea for 12 weeks resulted in significant reductions in total and LDL cholesterol compared to hot water. Total cholesterol levels decreased by 6.5% while LDL levels decreased by 11%.

The cholesterol-lowering effects may be attributed to theaflavins increasing bile acid production and inhibiting cholesterol absorption. Black tea may also help reduce the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation, which can cause inflammation in arteries.

For optimal results, drink 2–3 cups of black tea daily. Try English Breakfast or Assam black tea.

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos is an herbal tea, also known as red tea. It’s high in antioxidants and has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis bush native to South Africa.

In a study in 40 adults with elevated cholesterol markers, drinking 6 cups of rooibos tea daily for 6 weeks decreased LDL cholesterol by 2.4% compared to the control group. Rooibos tea may work by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.

Animal studies have found that rooibos tea also boosts HDL cholesterol and lowers triglyceride levels. The high antioxidant content may also promote heart health by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

Drink up to 6 cups of rooibos tea daily to lower cholesterol. Add milk or honey to taste if desired.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that’s partially oxidized. It falls between green and black tea in terms of oxidation level. Some research indicates oolong tea may be especially effective at decreasing cholesterol levels.

A 2001 study had 35 men drink 1 liter of oolong tea or green tea per day for 4 weeks. Both teas led to reductions in LDL cholesterol, but oolong tea decreased total cholesterol and triglycerides significantly more than green tea.

Oolong tea contains antioxidants called polymerized polyphenols, which appear to be more effective than green tea antioxidants at lowering cholesterol. These compounds may block cholesterol absorption and increase bile acid excretion.

Drink 2–3 cups of oolong tea per day for the best results. Opt for whole-leaf oolong that you can steep multiple times.

White Tea

White tea comes from the same plant as green and black tea, but it’s harvested and processed differently. White tea has high concentrations of antioxidant compounds called catechins, which can help lower cholesterol.

A 2013 study investigated the effects of drinking white tea in 48 patients with prediabetes and mild dyslipidemia. After just 8 weeks, there were significant decreases in total and LDL cholesterol compared to the control group.

White tea extract has also been shown to inhibit pancreatic lipase, an enzyme needed for fat digestion. This may help reduce fat and cholesterol absorption from foods.

Drink 1–2 cups of white tea daily to lower cholesterol. Silver Needle and White Peony are popular options.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is an invigorating beverage made from ginger root and hot water. It has several health benefits, including potent cholesterol-lowering effects.

Studies indicate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption and aiding cholesterol excretion. According to a 2008 study, taking ginger supplements for 45 days resulted in significant decreases in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.

Ginger tea may also improve cholesterol due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease.

Steep sliced ginger in hot water for 5–10 minutes to make ginger tea. Drink 1–2 cups per day to help lower cholesterol.

Dandelion Tea

Dandelion tea is an herbal tea made from dried dandelion leaves and flowers. It provides vitamin K, antioxidants, and fiber. Dandelion tea has been traditionally used to improve liver function and lower cholesterol levels.

Animal and test-tube studies indicate that dandelion flower extract increases bile acid and cholesterol excretion from the liver and intestines. Dandelion tea may also lower cholesterol by suppressing cholesterol synthesis in the liver.

The prebiotic fiber in dandelion tea supports a healthy gut microbiome, which impacts cholesterol metabolism. Drinking 3 cups of dandelion tea daily may help lower cholesterol.

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea is a flavorful, tart tea made from dried hibiscus flowers. It’s especially high in antioxidants called anthocyanins that benefit heart health.

Multiple studies have found that hibiscus tea helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A 2015 review of 5 trials found that hibiscus tea decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In one study, 65 people with diabetes were given hibiscus tea or black tea for 1 month. Hibiscus tea significantly decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides compared to black tea.

Hibiscus antioxidants may regulate cholesterol metabolism by lowering cholesterol absorption and increasing HDL cholesterol and bile production.

Drink 2–3 cups per day of hibiscus tea to maximize the cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea is made from dried turmeric root or an extract. It contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin, which has been extensively researched for its cholesterol-lowering effects.

Studies have found that consuming 500–1,500 mg of curcumin per day for 2–3 months lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels. Curcumin may reduce LDL oxidation, regulate cholesterol synthesis, and increase bile acid excretion.

Turmeric tea also has anti-inflammatory benefits, which helps support overall heart health. To make turmeric tea, boil 4 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric for 10 minutes. Drink 1–2 cups per day.

Garlic Tea

Garlic tea is made from sliced garlic cloves simmered in hot water for several minutes to soften and blend the flavors. Raw garlic has cholesterol-lowering effects, but cooking it may enhance these benefits.

According to a 2013 analysis of 39 studies, garlic supplementation significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol compared to placebo. It may work by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver.

Garlic tea has a mellow flavor and none of the harshness or odor of raw garlic. Steep 3 crushed garlic cloves in a cup of boiling water for 5–10 minutes to make garlic tea.

The Bottom Line

High cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease. Drinking certain teas may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. To maximize cholesterol-lowering benefits, drink 1–3 cups per day of green, black, oolong, rooibos, ginger, turmeric, or garlic tea.

Teas that contain catechins, theaflavins, anthocyanins, and other antioxidants seem especially beneficial for decreasing total and LDL cholesterol while boosting HDL cholesterol. Herbal teas with curcumin, gingerol, and garlic compounds also improve cholesterol levels.

Including a few cups per day of cholesterol-lowering teas as part of an overall heart-healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce heart disease risk and promote better health.

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