The healing properties of green tea may be helpful in avoiding heart disease and may even be helpful in treating other health challenges like cancer and diabetes.
"Green, black, and oolong tea are all derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant," according to the University of Maryland Medical Center
. "Green tea is prepared from unfermented leaves, the leaves of oolong tea are partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented. The more the leaves are fermented, the lower the polyphenol content and the higher the caffeine content. Green tea has the highest polyphenol content while black tea has roughly 2 to 3 times the caffeine content of green tea."
Medical experts attribute the positive effects of drinking green tea to its polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants, UMMC said.
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Research has pointed to several ways that green tea works to prevent heart disease, although some need further study:
• Reducing obesity –
People who are obese are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and some research shows that drinking green tea may help get the weight off. In 2014, Pennsylvania State University reported on a mouse study
that found mice on a high-fat diet that were given green tea extract and exercised had significant reductions in weight and other health improvements over mice that just exercised or just took green tea.
• Lowering cholesterol –
Research reported by UMMC found that "green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL ('good') cholesterol in both animals and people. One population-based clinical study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea." Medical News Today pointed out
, though, at least one study found that drinking fewer than four cups daily didn't change cholesterol.
• Protection from cardiovascular disease –
A study published in 2009 found that drinking seven cups of green tea daily could cut the risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 75 percent, NutraIngredients reported
. The participants were compared to people who drink less than one cup of green tea every day.
Although studies indicate the positive effects of green tea and more research is needed, experts said drinking too much of it for long periods of time can have negative effects on the body, according to research published in the journal Chinese Medicine
. You should always consult your doctor before adding an alternative health product to your diet, especially if you have any significant health issues.
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"Harmful effects of tea overconsumption (black or green) are due to three main factors: (1) its caffeine content, (2) the presence of aluminum, and (3) the effects of tea polyphenols on iron bioavailability," the journal article said. "Green tea should not be taken by patients suffering from heart conditions or major cardiovascular problems."
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