Heart Health: Coffee, Tea, Quinides & Catechins

A recent study, published in the American Heart Association Journal, Stroke, studied Japanese men and women and reported that both coffee and green tea can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke. The research discovered that the more green tea a person drank, the more it reduced the risk of suffering a stroke. The study showed an almost 20% lower risk of stroke in green tea drinkers versus those that did not or rarely drank green tea. Similarly, coffee drinkers only needed one cup per day to receive the same 20% decrease in the risk of stroke during the 13 year follow-up period. tea benefits

What is the Science?

Green tea contains compounds called catechins. Catechins are known to regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow through an anti-inflammatory response. Likewise, coffee has caffeine and quinides compounds that affect our health positively although through a different mechanism. Note that many of these studies that refer to tea and coffee as good dietary practices do not include those drinks that are laden with fat and sugar. There has been an increase in both tea and coffee consumption, but those extra large lattes and teas can contain high amounts of fat and sugar when cream, milk and sugar are included. The US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion states that a 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories. Add some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories. If you flavor a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. A teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories. Regular coffee, sans the heavy cream & sugar has been linked to a range of benefits that reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes and to have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease. Be cautioned: drinking coffee and tea is not cause and effect as there may be other lifestyle habits amongst java and tea drinkers that lead to reduced risk of disease. So if you currently drink a cup ‘o joe or have some tea, there’s no need to stop. If you don’t, maybe enlist a friend for some tea, that is, after you do your exercise and eat your healthy meal.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.