People who drink a cup of green tea everyday may be protecting against heart attack, according to a study by researchers in Japan.
The research, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology, found that although people who drank green tea everyday were no less likely to have coronary artery disease than people who did not drink tea, they were much less likely to have a heart attack.
"What we found was that myocardial infarction (heart attack) was less prevalent in green tea drinkers, suggesting that regular green tea intake may be playing a protective role against the development of myocardial infarction in Japanese," lead author Dr Yukihiko Momiyama of the National Defense Medical College in Saitama, told NutraIngredients.com.
Green tea, currently the most common beverage in Japan, has already been shown to have antioxidant and antithrombotic properties, and heart disease is less common in Japan than in Europe and the US.
Significant research suggests that flavonoids, abundant in green tea and also other foods such as wine and chocolate, may protect against atherosclerosis, partly by fighting the effects of damaging free radicals, linked to the onset of heart disease, stroke and several other diseases.
The researchers assessed green tea intake in nearly 400 Japanese patients undergoing angiography, an assessment to see whether they had coronary artery disease. Several had risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Momiyama's team found that the number of cups of green tea consumed daily did not affect the risk or severity of coronary artery disease. However, people who drank at least one cup of green tea per day were 42 per cent less likely to have a heart attack than people who did not drink green tea.
The researchers concluded: "A green tea intake of one or more cups per day was found to be inversely associated with myocardial infarction, suggesting that green tea intake may be related to a reduced risk of MI in Japanese patients."