A daily cup of green tea can help in preventing heart disease, a new study suggests.
The study led by Athens Medical School in Greece has found that drinking green tea can swiftly improve the function of (endothelial) cells lining the circulatory system. Endothelial dysfunction is a key event in the progression of atherosclerosis.
Lead researcher Dr Nikolaos Alexopoulos conducted randomised trial involving the diameter measurement (dilatation) of the brachial artery of healthy volunteers on three separate occasions - after taking green tea, caffeine, and hot water (for a placebo effect).
The measurements were taken at 30, 90 and 120 minutes after consumption.
Dilatation of the brachial artery, due to increased blood flow is an independent indicator of cardiovascular risk.
The findings revealed that endothelium-dependent brachial artery dilatation increased significantly after drinking green tea, with a peak increase of 3.9 per cent 30 minutes after consumption. The effect of caffeine consumption (or hot water) was not significant. This shows that green tea has been short-term beneficial effect on the large arteries.
"These findings have important clinical implications," said Dr Vlachopoulos.
"Tea consumption has been associated with reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in several studies. Green tea is consumed less in the Western world than black tea, but it could be more beneficial because of the way it seems to improve endothelial function," Vlachopoulos added.
Green tea originated in China and is now consumed throughout the world. It is made with pure leaves, and has undergone little oxidisation during processing.
The new study is reported in the latest issue of European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.