Drinking Green Tea May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Drinking Green Tea May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications, “Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease may be as easy as drinking green tea. Studies suggest this light, aromatic tea may lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which may be responsible for the tea's association with reduced risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

A Japanese Research Study

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan studied information from more than 400,000 participants aged 40 to 79. The study followed these people for 11 years, and the death rates from heart disease, cancer, and other causes were studied. Researchers discovered that the heart disease death rate for the people who drank more than five cups of green tea daily was 26%lower in the first seven years of the study. In addition, researchers also found that the benefits of green tea appeared to be stronger for females than males. The results of this study were first published in the Journal of American Medicine in September 2006.

Apparently, tea is the most highly consumed beverage in the world after water. Green tea has been touted for its potential role in preventing both cancer and heart disease. It contains polyphenol catechins, an antioxidant which may help protect the body from free radical damage. Tea ranks as high as or higher than many fruits and vegetables in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC, score, which measures antioxidant potential of foods.

Greek Research Study

Nikolaos Alexopoulos and colleagues at the Athens Medical School in Greece randomly assigned 14 healthy volunteers approximately 30 years of age to drink a cup of green tea or a non-tea drink containing the same amount of caffeine as green tea, or hot water on three separate occasions.

Researchers used a technique called flow-mediated dilation (FMD) to measure blood flow in each participant's arm at 30, 90, and 120 minutes intervals after drinking their beverages. FMD is a noninvasive test that uses blood pressure monitoring and ultrasound to measure how blood flows in the brachial artery when the arm is gently squeezed. The artery should get wider or dilate when blood flow in the area increases, but diseases such as atherosclerosis decrease this capability. FMD is an indicator of endothelial function and heart disease risk.

After drinking the green tea, participants experienced significantly increased arterial widening with the highest increase found at the 30-minute interval. The caffeinated and the hot water beverages did not produce any significant changes in artery widening in the same individuals.

Latest Research on Green Tea’s Effects on Heart Disease Risks

Green tea consumption appears to have positive effects on various risks for heart disease.

  • Obesity

People who are obese are far more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Some research shows that drinking green tea may help with weight loss. In 2014, Pennsylvania State University reported on a mouse study that mice on a high-fat diet were given green tea extract and also exercised had significant reductions in weight and other health improvements over mice that only exercised or only took green tea.

Research reported by UMMC indicated that "green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL ('good') cholesterol for both animals and humans. Although research studies indicate positive results from green tea consumption, more research is needed. One should always consult a doctor before adding an alternative health product to a daily routine.


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