Green Tea Lowers Cholesterol Risk Slightly
Green tea slightly lowers cholesterol risk, and encouraging people to consume more of it could have significant health benefits, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing looked at data from 14 randomized trials, and found that drinking green tea appeared to lower “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels while leaving good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) as it was. The finding might help explain why green tea has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
"The analysis... showed that the administration of green tea beverages or extracts resulted in significant reductions in serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, but no effect on HDL cholesterol was observed," wrote the authors in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, as quoted by Reuters.
According to Nathan Wong, leader of the heart disease prevention program at the University of California at Irvine, the cholesterol-lowering effects of green tea might be attributed to catechins, which lowers the frequency of absorption of cholesterol in the gut, but the reduction is fairly small.
Wong told Reuters Health that green tea "should not be recommended in place of well-proven cholesterol-lowering medicines for people with high cholesterol," but drinking it in modest amounts has the potential to be “a useful component of a heart-healthy diet." Green tea has also been linked to other health benefits, including a lower risk of cancer.