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New Study Finds Drinking Green Tea May Help Your Heart

Results of a new study from Greece suggest that the flavonoids found in green tea may help protect the heart. It appears to work by improving the function of the endothelial cells that line the walls of blood vessels.

This is important because poor endothelial function can trigger what's known as "hardening of the arteries" or atherosclerosis.

In this preliminary study, researchers at the Athens Medical School had 14 healthy subjects drink a cup of 1) green tea, 2) a beverage with the same caffeine content as green tea or 3) hot water on three separate occasions.

They then measured the dilation of the brachial artery--the artery located in the upper arm used to measure blood pressure--of each participant. This was done 30, 60 and 90 minutes after each drink was consumed.

The results showed green tea caused the brachial artery to dilate significantly, peaking at a 3.9% improvement 30 minutes after consumption. This indicates that green tea helps the blood vessel to relax which improves blood flow and supports heart health.

By contrast, the caffeinated beverage and hot water did not produce any significant changes in the same individuals. As a result, it can be deduced that it wasn't the caffeine in green tea that was aiding blood flow. The researchers believe that the benefit is due to the polyphenol antioxidants that are abundant in green tea.

It has been established that there is a direct relationship between brachial artery health and endothelial function. Furthermore, poor endothelial function is known to be an independent predictor of increased cardiovascular risk. From this study, it appears green tea may help reduce this risk along with providing a host of other health benefits to your body.

Results were published in the July 2008 edition of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

Source: European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation
2008; 15: 300-305
“The acute effect of green tea consumption on endothelial function in healthy individuals”
Authors: Alexopoulos N, Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, et al.
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