Drink herbal teas for heart health

Posted by Lynda on March 17th, 2014 (Good Foods, Health)

Take a leaf out of the Ikarian lifestyle and add a herbal tea to your diet to boost heart health.

Tea in various guises has been enjoyed for thousands of years, but research in 2009 in the Blue Zone island of Ikaria in Greece, found that the herbal teas drunk on a daily basis contributed to the lower rate of heart disease on the island, because they have a diuretic effect that helps lower blood pressure. They are also high in antioxidants, so boost the immune system too.

The teas enjoyed in Ikaria, the island with more 90-year-olds than anywhere else on the planet, are mint, rosemary and sage teas – herbs that are easily grown here in Australia and in many other parts of the world.  Other diuretic herbs are fennel, parsley, celery seed, dandelion and nettle.

Herbal teas can easily be made from fresh herbs from the garden or the dried ones you buy in the shops.  But if you really cannot palate herbal teas, it is worth knowing that green tea also has a diuretic effect too.

How to make herbal tea

Fresh herbs: Add a handful of the freshly cut herb into a teapot or mug. Pour over boiling water that has been allowed to sit for a minute, so it is hot but not bubbling. Let the leaves seep for ten minutes, strain and enjoy.

Dried herbs: Find fennel seeds or celery seeds in the spice sections of shops or buy dried rosemary, sage or mint. Use a teaspoons worth in a teapot or mug, add hot water, let it seep for 5 to 10 minutes, and enjoy. Dried herbs often taste stronger than fresh herbs, so adjust the seeping time to your liking. Fennel and celery seeds have a robust flavour, so don’t leave them quite as long if you prefer a milder brew.

Read more about the Blue Zones – find out why the people living in these 5 regions have longer life expectancies and less incidents of disease than anywhere else on earth. 

Written by Lynda

Lynda Hamilton is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist BSc, BHSc (N&D) and member of Dietitian Association Australia (APD).

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