There are many claims that green tea is beneficial in keeping the heart healthy; but what evidence is there to back up those claims? Here are the results of some recent studies:
A joint US/Chinese study published in 2003 in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that, after 12 weeks of taking green tea extract, the total cholesterol of study participants fell more than 10% and “bad” cholesterol decreased by more than 15%. Many other studies appear to support these results. For example, two separate studies by Japanese researchers found that total serum cholesterol levels were reduced in subjects who were heavy green tea drinkers.
Research currently being conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows that green tea prevents the formation of new plaque in arteries. Keeping arteries free of plaque is essential for the avoidance of heart attack and stroke. This beneficial effect is thought to be due to the antioxidants in green tea preventing “bad” cholesterol from promoting plaque build-up.
When a person has a heart attack, cells are irreversibly damaged by the reduced flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the heart and brain. This is known as cell death. Researchers at the Institute of Child Health in the UK have found evidence that the antioxidant in green tea (EGCG) is able to reduce the level of cell death that occurs following a heart attack or stroke. In addition, EGCG also seems to hasten the recovery of damaged cells. It is hoped that these experimental findings will soon be implemented in clinical trials.
Heart disease is currently the number one killer of US citizens. The introduction of green tea extract into the daily diet may well help to change that statistic.