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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Dawn Handschuh

Antioxidants in Hibiscus Tea

Ideally, we should flood our bloodstream with antioxidants at every meal, and sip green tea or hibiscus tea all day long. Why hibiscus tea? Because a study of 282 beverages revealed that hibiscus tea ranked highest in antioxidant content ̶ higher than even green tea or matcha.

Each time we eat, free radicals are produced as our bodies absorb food. So it’s best to consume generous amounts of antioxidant fruits and vegetables throughout the day to counteract the negative effects of oxidative cellular stress.

Hibiscus Tea for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure kills millions of people. Hibiscus tea has been found to be potentially as effective as a leading blood pressure drug. The daily consumption of hibiscus tea may significantly lower blood pressure by boosting nitric oxide production, which could help arteries relax and dilate better.

Acids and Aluminum in Hibiscus Tea

While hibiscus tea may confer some desirable health benefits, excess consumption may come with its own side effects. Aluminum in the diet has been associated with the development of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. If you’re drinking lots of tea, are you absorbing high amounts of aluminum? Black, green, white and oolong teas don’t significantly contribute to aluminum absorption; research suggests that the bioavailability of aluminum in tea—how much our bodies actually absorb—is low. 

Hibiscus tea may be different because it contains natural acids, like citric acid. (Some hibiscus teas are as acidic as orange juice or colas.) While there’s insufficient data showing whether hibiscus tea acids boost absorption of its aluminum, or whether the high amounts of manganese found in hibiscus pose a problem, we suggest no more than about one quart of hibiscus tea a day for healthy adults (and less for kids or pregnant women). 

Acidic beverages can erode the enamel on your teeth. For this reason, smoothies or teas are best consumed using a straw. Wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth, but do rinse your mouth out with water after drinking to wash away some of the acids.


Image Credit: Emily / Flickr. This image has been modified.

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