Green tea, coffee lower stroke risk

Print edition : April 05, 2013

GREEN tea and coffee may help lower the risk of having a stroke, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. “This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks,” said Yoshihiro Kokubo, lead author of the study at Japan’s National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Centre.

Researchers asked 83,269 Japanese adults about their green tea- and coffee-drinking habits, and followed them for an average 13 years. Participants in the study were 45 to 74 years old, almost evenly divided in gender, and were free from cancer and cardiovascular disease. They found that the more green tea or coffee people drink, the lower their stroke risks. Previous limited research had linked green tea to lower death risks from heart disease, but only touched on its association with lower stroke risks. “Regularly drinking tea, coffee, benefits cardiovascular health because it partly keeps blood clots from forming,” Kokubo said. Tea and coffee are the most popular drinks in the world after water, suggesting that these results may apply elsewhere as well.

It is unclear how green tea affects stroke risks. A compound group known as catechins may provide some protection. Catechins have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, increasing plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects. Some chemicals in coffee include chlorogenic acid, which reduces stroke risks by lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

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