Tea for Heart Health

There are many types of tea and if you’re not really a tea enthusiast type of person, you might be confused as to what tea to order the next time you walk off to tea house or next time you go to a supermarket and decided to purchase a tea. Awareness regarding tea types and their health benefits is necessary in order to become a wise consumer. If you are packed with information, you can get the value of your money by choosing a tea product which can give you all the benefits you need.

Tea is one of the most popular and nutritious drink in the world. It is considered part of Eastern culture particularly in countries like China, Japan and Korea. Several studies were conducted which shows that addition of green tea in the diet is a heart-healthy practice. In fact, a study conducted in Japan outlined the difference in death rates related to cardiovascular disease between Americans and Japanese. The study revealed that the mortality rate of Japanese due to stroke and heart disease was significantly lower by 30 percent. The inclusion of green tea in their dietary recommendation was not yet advised by the renowned American Heart Association; but due to a comprehensive and definitive clinical trial conducted in Japan which lasted for about 15 years, the FDA at long last, will affirm that green tea as useful in reducing risk and occurrence of heart disease. The results of the study were published recently by the Journal of American Medical Association. As for now, adding green tea in the daily meal may not be a bad idea, as safety level of Green tea was already established.

Many years ago, the scientists were perplexed by what is known as “French Paradox”. The French consumes high fat, high cholesterol, diet, but despite of that fact, they still have lower incidence of heart disease compared to Americans. Scientific studies confirmed that the answer to the mystery was the resveratrol in red wine that negates the bad effects of consuming fatty diet as well as smoking. A study conducted in 2007 determined that EGCG in green tea is twice as potent as red wine’s resveratrol, hence a great potential for fighting heart disease. This supports a fact that Japanese have low cardiovascular related deaths; despite 75 percent of the male population were heavy smokers. Green contains the highest water extractable polyphenols of 30-49 percent compared to black tea which contains only 3-10 percent. Black tea is more common beverage than green tea especially in the west.

Considerable Scientific studies established the alleged benefits of green to heart health and these evidences might already be enough to erase one’s hesitation to include green tea in the diet. There are numerous hypotheses as to how the green tea generates beneficial effects. One of the most substantiated results is its antioxidant properties. A lot of documents proved the efficiency of green tea in addressing problems with heart disease. Generally, there are four Primary phenols in a fresh tea leaf that exerts an antioxidant effect,  Epicatechin (EC), Epicatechin gallate (ECG), Epigallocatechin (EGC) and Epigallocatechin gallate ( ECGC) being the most abundant one. A study published in the “European Journal of Pharmacology.” On February 2011 pointed out that Epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG protects cardiac cells. The study was designed to expose a heart cell to a heart damaging chemotherapy drug. The result showed that EGCG helps by preventing calcium depletion, resulting improved cardiac impulse transmission. Cancer patients who developed chemotherapy induced heart disease may benefit from this study.

Inflammatory conditions in the cardiovascular system contribute to heart disease. It was already established that Catechins has anti- inflammatory properties which could halt the inflammation in the heart and prevent any heart problems to occur. It works by suppressing the pro- inflammatory signalling pathways.  The anti inflammatory effect particularly addressed the problems with cardiac arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation manifested as palpitation and chest pain. Ischemia is a condition where the heart is deprived of its much needed blood and oxygen supply due to a plaque blockage or narrowing of the vessels of the heart. This is a life threatening condition since cell death may occur if the condition continues without intervention for a prolong period of time. A study which came out on November 2010 published that green tea protects the heart from possible damage due to ischemia by improving heart rhythm in the main pumping muscle, the ventricles. This fact was further substantiated by the results of the study conducted by Dr. Nikolaos Alexopoulos, et.al in Greece. The study revealed that consumption of green tea improves the condition of the endothelium, a delicate lining of the blood vessel by making it more relaxed and pliable. The study showed that subjects who drank green tea achieved a significant amount of arterial dilation in just 30 minutes. The blood vessel quickly reacts in just a short period of time. Further studied concluded that daily consumption may also produce long term and cumulative improvements in the health of the blood vessel. It is important to keep the artery dilated to allow it to deliver oxygen circulated throughout the body. However, due to the result of unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle, plaque deposits in the endothelium leading to a condition known as Atherosclerosis. Plaques build up due to the accumulation of excess fatty substances like cholesterol and calcium. The good news is green tea can easily eliminate these piled up plaques by just drinking 4 cups of tea daily. Tea extracts contains Quercitin, a flavonol that oxidizes the bad cholesterol or LDL’s and lowers it down as a result. Green tea was consequently proven to raise the amount of HDL’s or good cholesterol in the blood. Flavonoids in green tea has an anticoagulant or blood thinning effect that protects against the formation of clots that may block the primary vessels supplying blood to the heart and eventually cause heart attack. Diabetes is one of the risk factors for heart disease as sugar in the blood makes it more viscous, making the heart to exert more effort to circulate the blood. EGCG promotes heart function by protecting it against the high level of glucose in the blood.

So the next time you were asked to choose which tea would you like to have, you must definitely choose to go green since it will not only quench your thirst, but it will as well prolong your life by reducing your risk from acquiring cardiovascular related diseases.

 

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