There is increasing evidence for a protective effect of tea consumption against cardiovascular disease. This review summarizes the available epidemiological data providing evidence for and against such an effect. We also review observational and intervention studies that investigated an effect of tea and tea extracts on cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure, serum lipids, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Finally, we review potential mechanisms of benefit, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-proliferative effects, as well as favorable effects on endothelial function. Overall, the observational data suggest a benefit, but results are mixed and likely confounded by lifestyle and background dietary factors. The weight of evidence indicates favorable effects on risk factors and a number of plausible mechanisms have been elucidated in experimental and translational human studies. Despite the growing body evidence, it remains uncertain whether tea consumption should be recommended to the general population or to patients as a strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk.
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