Green Tea Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Tea Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy

Tea, especially green tea, is great for the heart. It helps keep arteries healthy, the heart pumping strong and protects cholesterol and lipids from free radical damage.

Scientists have found that tea is heart protective and the incidence of heart-related events is inversely proportional to the consumption of green tea.11 In other words, the more green tea (or green tea catechins) you consume, the better your chances of staying heart-healthy longer.

More evidence of green tea’s heart prowess comes from additional research. In one 25-year long study of the same group of elderly men in Europe, the habitual daily consumption of at least 86 mg of total catechins (equivalent to one-half cup of green tea) was found to double the chances of having optimal cardiac function with age.12 Investigators who pooled the results of previous studies worldwide calculated that every cup of black or green tea consumed on a regular daily basis reduced the risk of heart-related events by about 4%.13 They explained that they found a weaker effect in the overall results because in the U.S. few men drink tea. Nonetheless, these reports are consistent in concluding that healthy hearts are more common among tea drinkers.

Due to the antioxidant benefits among tea drinkers, cardiac protection is increased. The catechins in green tea may directly contribute to healthy heart function by scavenging various free radical species that could be detrimental to heart tissue. Studies show again and again that those individuals consuming tea are more likely to have stronger hearts than those who consume less or none at all. For example, a study performed through Harvard University examining about 1900 men and illustrates this point well.14 Among these men and women, those who drank one or two cups on a routine daily basis lived on average 28% longer and those who drank an average of more than two cups daily lived about 44% longer.

While it is not clear exactly what attribute of tea improved the survival and longevity of these study subjects, and a number of theories have been suggested, including the benefits of an increased antioxidant status among tea drinkers, it is clear that the benefits to the heart of tea and catechin consumption cannot be denied.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Tea Helps Keep Your Blood Flowing

References:
11. Sano J, Inami S, Seimiya K, Ohba T, Sakai S, Takano T, Mizuno K. Effects of green tea intake on the development of coronary artery disease. Circ J 2004;68:665-670.
12. Arts IC, Hollman PC, Feskens EJ, Bueno de Mesquita HB, Kromhout D. Catechin intake might explain the inverse relation between tea consumption and ischemic heart disease: The Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:227-232.
13. Peters U, Poole C, Arab L. Does tea affect cardiovascular disease? A meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2001;154:495-503.
14. Mukamal KJ, Maclure M, Muller JE, Sherwood JB, Mittleman MA. Tea consumption and mortality after acute myocardial infarction. Circulation 2002;105:2476-2481.


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