| Green Tea May Protect
Against Heart Attack
NEW YORK (Reuters
Health) - New research from Japan suggests
that drinking green tea every day may be good for the heart. Although
people in the study who drank one or more cups of green tea were
no less likely to have artery disease than people who did not
drink tea, they were much less likely to have a heart attack.
"What we found was that was less
prevalent in green tea drinkers, suggesting that regular green
tea intake may be playing a protective role against the development
of in Japanese," the study's lead author, Dr. Yukihiko Momiyama
of the National Defense Medical College in Saitama, told Reuters
Green tea is becoming more and
more popular in the US and other Western countries, but the drink
is the most common beverage in Japan, according to Momiyama. Heart
disease is less common in Japan than in the West, and researchers
have been trying to figure out why.
Although there are probably many
factors that explain the difference in heart disease rates, some
scientists suspect that green tea may boost heart health because
it contains high levels of substances called flavonoids. These
plant compounds, which are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables
as well as in tea and red wine, are thought to boost health in
part by combating oxidation, a process in which cell-damaging
substances called free radicals accumulate. Oxidative damage can
be caused by outside factors, such as cigarette smoking, or by
factors on the cellular level. Oxidation is suspected of increasing
the risk of heart disease, stroke and several other diseases.
Several studies have found that
people who consume lots of flavonoids are less likely to die from
coronary artery disease, and another study linked high flavonoid
consumption to a reduced risk of heart attack.
In the new study, Momiyama's team
did not detect a link between the number of cups of green tea
a person drank each day and the risk of coronary artery disease
or the severity of artery disease. However, people who drank green
tea were less likely to have a heart attack, the authors report
in the November 15th issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.
In the study, people who drank at least one cup of green tea per
day were 42% less likely to have a heart attack than people who
did not drink green tea.
The people in the study did not
represent a cross-section of the Japanese population. The 393
patients were undergoing a procedure called angiography to see
whether they had coronary artery disease. Many of the participants
had risk factors for heart and artery disease, including high
blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology
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