Bergamot is a flavoring ingredient derived from a citrus plant that grows almost exclusively in the coastal region of Calabria, Italy. Commonly used as a flavoring in Earl Grey tea, the extract of the bitter citrus fruit, bergamot, is credited with raising good cholesterol, removing fatty deposits in the liver and lowering blood sugar levels.
In one of the studies, published in 2013 in the International Journal of Cardiology, 77 patients took 1,000 milligrams daily of bergamot extract over one month. The participants’ cholesterol dropped by an average of 31%.
The study researchers also reported that adding bergamot allowed them to cut participants’ dosage of the cholesterol medication by half, without reducing its effectiveness.
The secret ingredient? Powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. It may be that exposure to the harsh Mediterranean sun and wind causes plants to elaborate heart-healthy defensive compounds like resveratrol, pterostilbene, and the polyphenols found in grapeseed and olive oil.
Unfortunately for tea lovers, Earl Grey tea does not pack a potent enough punch to affect cholesterol levels. In the studies above, the concentrated extract in tablet or capsule form was consumed.
Please consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.
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