A cup of Earl Grey keeps the doctor away: the drink could guard against heart disease, scientists say

The bergamot extracts found in Earl Grey could be as good as statins at combating cholesterol

There’s another reason to put the kettle on and make a brew – drinking tea could help tackle heart disease, according to a study.

Bergamot extract, the key ingredient in Earl Grey tea, was found to lower cholesterol and guard against a disease that causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK.

Researchers said the fragrant Mediterranean fruit, which gives Earl Grey its unique flavour, contains enzymes known as HMGF (hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones), which can attack proteins in the body known to contribute to cardiovascular disease.

And bergamot could even be as effective as statins, the group of medicines used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.

The study, carried out by scientists at Italy's University of Calabria, used concentrations of HMGF on the proteins which cause heart disease.

Writing in the Journal of Functional Foods, they said that a dietary supplement of HMGF could be just as effective as statins in combating low-density proteins (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol.

Additionally, HMGF was also found to increase levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.

The journal’s report said: ““High cholesterol is a common health concern for us all and often statins are given to help treat the condition.

“Extract from bergamot – most commonly used in Earl Grey tea – reduced total cholesterol and LDL levels but there was an increase in HDL levels [good cholesterol].

“Therefore a daily supplement of bergamot fruit extract could be very effective for the treatment of high cholesterol.”

The citrus fruit has long been known as a “superfood”, which can protect against cardiovascular disease.

In 2012, research led by the University Magna Graecia in southern Italy and published in the International Journal of Cardiology, reported similar findings about the cholesterol-reducing effects of bergamot.

Extracts from the fruit have also traditionally been used to treat wounds, inflammation and as an antiseptic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - £32,000 OTE

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist - Part Time

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a part time opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Air Conditioning Engineers

£38000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: M&E Contractor based in Leeds h...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss