Green tea has long been known to have medicinal benefits, with scientists discovering that it’s the antioxidants in green tea that make it so good for us. But did you know that it can be used as a way to help improve cardiovascular health as well?
This is one benefit that health professionals across the globe are excited about. Heart disease is one of the world’s biggest killers and is a particular problem in the UK and other Western countries, largely because of the large amounts of processed, fatty and unhealthy foods that we eat. If there was an easy way to help counteract the risks then it’s definitely worth investigating, and drinking green tea is one just of those ways.
But is there any scientific merit in its claims? Actually, there is. Several studies seem to confirm the benefit that drinking green tea can have in relation to cardiovascular health, and the results are definitely points of interest. For example, a long-term study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that drinking green tea was closely correlated to reduced mortality rates from cardiovascular disease.
The study, conducted in Japan by Kuriyama et al in 2006, followed over 40,000 people for 11 years. During this time they looked at (amongst other things) green tea consumption, mortality rates and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Their findings were quite significant – individuals who drank at least 5 cups (or around 3 in the UK – Japanese cups tend to be a lot smaller) of green tea per day had a 16% reduction in the likelihood of dying, and, most interestingly, they had a 26% lowered risk of mortality through cardiovascular disease compared with those who drank less than one cup per day.
The study found that the protective benefits were stronger in women than in men, and it also indicated that green tea had a particular correlation to a reduced chance of stroke. Overall, benefits were found in those who drank at least one cup per day, but generally the more green tea that was consumed the more marked the health benefits were.
This is just one study, and several others seem to confirm its findings. But why could green tea have such a marked effect on the incidence of cardiovascular disease? Many people theorize that it’s the high incidence of antioxidants, and in 2006 researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine took this one step further.
They found it interesting to note the significantly lower rates of heart disease in Asia compared to the Western world despite the high incidence of smoking, and they theorized that it was because of the high levels of green tea, and subsequent antioxidants, that they consumed. They found that the polyphenols found in green tea can help to prevent blood platelets from sticking together and can also reduce cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol, thus improving cardiovascular health.
Another theory is related to green tea’s apparent ability to help people lose weight. A study, conducted by Nagao et al and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005, found that regular consumption of green tea can lead to a reduction in body fat, which can in turn lead to a reduced incidence of obesity and other lifestyle-related illnesses and thus a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
So, green tea really can have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, and it can even be used as a way to help prevent the onset of heart disease. Drinking as little as one cup per day can have an effect, but many studies indicate that the more you drink the more benefits you’ll get – but remember the rule of moderation! So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your cardiovascular health, then drinking green tea could definitely be one to try.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”