I like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person. I try to exercise regularly (although my Xbox "addiction" does get in the way occasionally); I watch my diet (except for the occasional fish & chips or croissant); and I do monitor my weight. Over the past ten years, I have had to make some moderate changes in my lifestyle to help control my level of cholesterol, especially given that I was not exactly blessed with healthy genes.
I will take any edge that I can get in this daily struggle against high cholesterol, so I have been taking supplements on a regular basis as well as consuming foods that comprise properties that help battle high cholesterol (see red wine/resveratrol and fish/omega-3). While I never thought of myself as a big tea drinker, after reading and hearing about all the great health-related properties in green tea, I thought that it was at least worth a try to see if it did make a difference. What I found was that if for anything else, I really enjoy drinking green tea - whether hot with a little honey, or iced with an order of Pad Thai.
The benefits of green tea are touted by many in the East, where it is regularly used as a deterrent against heart disease and cancer. In a study that involved 500 Japanese men and women, researchers found that drinking at least four cups of green tea every day may be related to the reduced severity of coronary heart disease among the male participants. And a Dutch study of more than 3,000 men and women found that the more tea consumed, the less severe the clogging of the heart's blood vessels, especially in women. It seems that the antioxidants found in green tea are dilators, meaning that they improve the flexibility of blood vessels and make them less vulnerable to clogging. Additionally, although in very limited studies, green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol.
While I am not an expert in diet and nutrition (HealthCentral's own resident dietician Lisa Nelson did a great job in breaking down the benefits of green tea in this 2008 article) what I do know is that I enjoy drinking green tea and have found a direct correlation between improved cholesterol numbers and the amount of green tea that I consume over that period of time.
Just the other day, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found "no credible scientific evidence" that green tea reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease. Be that as it may, I still believe that the evidence of its benefit on those that consume green tea on a regular basis is pretty overwhelming and you will still find me at my favorite sushi bar eating toro with a nice mug of green tea to accompany it.
Published On: June 03, 2010