Green tea has numerous health benefits, and just one of the ways it can help is by reducing cholesterol. Given that cholesterol is a growing concern in the USA, knowing that there’s a simple way to reduce the incidence is bound to be good news. And, luckily, studies are confirming the effectiveness of green tea in relation to this condition.
One study, which was conducted by Kono et al at Kyushu University in Japan, looked at the relationship between green tea and levels of cholesterol. They took 2,062 male participants and gave them a questionnaire relating to their lifestyle and diet choices, including consumption of green tea, and compared their answers with their cholesterol measurements. They found an inverse relationship between green tea consumption and LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol levels, indicating that increased intake of green tea can result in lower levels of cholesterol.
A similar study confirmed the findings. Mardon et al, from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in America, took 240 participants who all had hypercholesterolemia (a condition of increased blood cholesterol levels). They found that participants who were given green tea extract while being on a low-fat diet showed significantly reduced levels of LDL cholesterol compared to those who were on the low-fat diet only, indicating that green tea consumption can be an effective dual treatment plan (i.e. being used in combination with a low-fat diet) for those with hypercholesterolemia.
But why is that? Green tea has long been known to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but researchers at the University of Connecticut have looked even closer at its processes. Koo and Noh looked at the effects of green tea catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and how it affected the absorption of dietary lipids, the primary reason for raised cholesterol.
They found that EGCG strongly inhibited lipid absorption in the intestinal tract and prevented their digestion, leading the team to suggest that consumption of green tea could be a great therapeutic treatment to lower lipids. This also gives valuable insight into how green tea can have such a marked effect on lowering cholesterol – by preventing the absorption into the bloodstream of the offending articles.
So, it’s been proven that green tea can be a safe and effective treatment to lower cholesterol, ideally in conjunction with other dietary and lifestyle changes. Given that raised cholesterol is such a serious and growing problem any help is sure to be greatly appreciated by sufferers, and while studies continue to be conducted into its effects it can’t be denied that the evidence so far indicates that it can have great cholesterol-lowering abilities.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”
 Kono S, Shinchi K, Wakabayashi K, Honjo S, Todoroki I, Sakurai Y, Imanishi K, Nishikawa H, Ogawa S, Katsurada M. Relation of green tea consumption to serum lipids and lipoproteins in Japanese men. J Epidemiol.1996 Sep;6(3):128-33.
 Maron DJ, Lu GP, Cai NS, Wu ZG, Li YH, Chen H, Zhu JQ, Jin XJ, Wouters BC, Zhao J. Cholesterol-lowering effect of a theaflavin-enriched green tea extract: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Jun 23;163(12):1448-53.