Do you sometimes get the feeling that all our available researchers are studying variations of this one question: what does green tea do…? It seems every week, a new supposed benefit of drinking tea is discovered and by now, most of us have heard all the big ones numerous times. That’s why I was so surprised by something I read the other day.
Apparently, researchers in Japan have determined that the combination of four cups of green tea and one cup of coffee per day can help prevent strokes (story on NPR). This was a claim I had not yet heard. Drinking four cups of green tea per day on its own can reduce the risk of stroke, as can a cup of coffee per day, but apparently combining the two habits can reduce the risk of a stroke quite a bit further.
A stroke is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Usually this takes the form of a blood clot blocking the flow of blood or a ruptured blood vessel. The lack of blood in the brain causes brain cells to die, resulting in lasting damage and adversely affecting the actions controlled by the particular region of the brain where the stroke has occurred.
What does green tea do to reduce the risk of blood clots or ruptured vessels? Well, drinking green tea or coffee regularly helps prevent blood clots from forming due to the caffeine content—caffeine thins the blood. Additionally, a compound in green tea called catechins helps regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow, while a compound called quinides in coffee helps control blood sugar, which reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, thus reducing stroke risk.
Drinking green tea has been linked to numerous health benefits and drinking coffee in moderation is said to be beneficial as well. Most of the benefits associated with drinking tea are still under study, but one thing everyone can agree on, as evidenced by is that drinking tea in moderation does no harm. This article in the Harvard Health Publications comes to the same conclusion. So why not pick up the habit and maybe reduce your coffee consumption at the same time? And if you are worried about being able to drink four whole cups, I should point out this was a Japanese study. In Japan, the standard cup size is only six ounces.
Photo courtesy of Stiickler.