Drinking Earl Grey tea could help guard against heart disease, it has emerged, after a study found that bergamot extract – a key ingredient in the hot drink – is just as effective as statins at controlling cholesterol.
Scientists believe bergamot, a fragrant Mediterranean citrus fruit which gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavour, can significantly lower cholesterol.
They say it contains enzymes known as HMGF (hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones) which can attack proteins in the body known to cause heart disease.
The study found bergamot could even be as effective as statins, used to control cholesterol but which can have side effects in patients.
Researchers from Italy’s University of Calabria, writing for the Journal of Functional Foods, used concentrations of HMGF on the proteins which cause heart disease and ‘bad’ cholesterol.