Good news for all of us tea-totalers – Drinking tea may reduce your risk for stroke by 21% or more! According to The American Heart Association, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Most of us Baby Boomers know someone who has had a stroke and we’ve witnessed the long recovery from such a devastating event. That’s why this study from UCLA School of Medicine, which was published last week in the on line edition of Stroke: Journal of The American Heart Association, is so important.
The study showed that drinking tea may help protect us from a life-threatening stroke. Researchers at UCLA examined the data from nine different studies which described 4,375 strokes among 195,000 people. What they discovered was that those who drank at least three cups of tea a day significantly reduced their risk of stroke, compared with those who drank less than one cup. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.
The good news is that the more tea you drink, the better the results. For instance, the researchers found that if people drank three cups a day, their risk for stroke decreased by 21%. If they drank three more cups, their risk dropped another 21%! And, it doesn’t matter if you prefer green or black tea- both are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, whose powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and the amino acid theanine may protect vessels and arteries. Though no one is certain which compounds in tea are responsible for this effect, researchers have speculated that the antioxidant EGCG or the amino acid theanine, or the combination of both may be what helps. Antioxidants are known to help prevent coronary artery disease.
“And theanine is nearly 100-percent absorbed,” says lead author Lenore Arab. “It gets across the blood-brain barrier and it looks a lot like a molecule that’s very similar to glutamate, and glutamate release is associated with stroke.” Since it is currently difficult to treat a stroke due to the speed that damage occurs, this study suggests that a natural, low-cost preventative that is easily available to the general public exists in tea.
Herbal teas are not usually made from Camellia sinensis, and therefore do not provide the same benefit. While this particular study finds no difference in type of tea for the health of our arteries, other studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder. My recommendation is always to get the most benefit for your efforts, so I say bring out the green tea please!
So brew up a pot and enjoy your tea and the good health it brings you.
Best of Health, Kathi