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Green tea cuts risk for heart disease and stroke

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By David Liu davidl @ foodconsumer dot org

Drinking green tea may help reduce risk of heart disease in men, specifically, coronary atherosclerosis, a condition that lead to other heart diseases, heart attack and stroke, a new study suggests.

The study published in Dec 17, 2009 issue of Circulation Journal shows that green tea consumption was associated with 38 percent reduced risk of coronary atherosclerosis.

This is not the first study on the association between heart diseases and drinking green tea, but not all studies are consistent when it comes to its protective effect against coronary atherosclerosis.

Wang QM and colleagues from First Affiliate Hospital of Nanjiang Medical University examined data from 520 men and women from a Chinese population who underwent coronary artheriography for the first time, but had no prior heart disease.

Of 379 male participants, those who consumed less than 125 grams of dried green tea leaves per month were at 9 percent higher risk of the disease and those using 125 to 249 grams per month or more were at 64 percent reduced risk of the heart disease.

Among 141 female patients, no inverse association was found between green tea consumption and coronary atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.  A person with coronary atherosclerosis is at a higher risk of coronary artery disease, angina, heart attack, and stroke.

The plaque buildup can be reduced using statins that lower serum levels of cholesterol. But cholesterol may not play a major role in the condition, some studies suggest.

Progression of coronary atherosclerosis can be stopped or even reversed by following a vegetarian diet that does not use much of cooking oil and oily nuts.  Interested readers may visit Dr. Dean Ornish's website.

Heart disease results in about 26 percent of deaths in the United States.  In 2006, 631,636 people died of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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