Coffee and Green Tea for Cardiovascular Health

March 26, 2013

The balance seems to be back in favor of your morning joe and green tea. Find out what the latest research says here

Green tea and coffee, as a regular part of your diet, may help lower your 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… You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet." Commented Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D lead author of the study at Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in a press release.  
Researchers followed over 83,000 Japanese adults (Participants in the study were 45 to 74 years old, and almost evenly divided in gender) for an average 13 years and inquired about their green tea and coffee drinking habits. They found that the more green tea or coffee people drink, the lower their stroke risks.
People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who rarely drank it. People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20 percent lower risk, compared to those who rarely drank it.

Another interesting finding was that green tea drinkers in the study were more likely to exercise compared to non-drinkers. Previous limited research has shown green tea's link to lower death risks from heart disease, but has only touched on its association with lower stroke risks. Other studies have shown inconsistent connections between coffee and stroke risks.

It is important to keep in mind that a typical cup of coffee or tea in Japan is approximately six ounces, although it's unclear how green tea affects stroke risks. A compound group known as catechins may provide some protection. Catechins have an antioxidant anti-inflammatory effect, increasing plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects. 
What about coffee? Some chemicals in coffee include chlorogenic acid, thus cutting stroke risks by lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Further research could clarify how the interaction between coffee and green tea might help further lower stroke risks, Kokubo said.
In the mean time SupermarketGuru encourages you to continue to consume a wide variety of whole foods – fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains as well as choosing well prepared high quality green tea and coffee- but portion size is key!