Green tea cures everything!
Isn’t that how it seems sometimes?
Every week, I see a new article touting some health benefit of green tea.
And now I’m telling you it prevents strokes?
Before you roll your eyes and stop reading (as I have to admit I tend to do these days whenever I see some new health claim), know that this one is a little bit different.
The fact that green tea has been shown to help prevent strokes is not new. Not to me at least.
I had read about that before.
I had also read something related: that coffee can reduce the risk of a stroke as well. That is important here too. Because a new (relatively speaking) study looked at these two in combination. Let’s see what they found.
How Green Tea Reduces Stroke Risk
It seems 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 (here is the story on NPR).
As mentioned, 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.
Let’s look at how these drinks reduce the risk of strokes.
How Do They Prevent Strokes
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. The actions controlled by the particular region of the brain where the stroke has occurred are adversely affected.
Depending on where the stroke occurred, the victim may lose function of a limb, the ability to speak, or even the ability to breathe or perform other vital functions.
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 catechin helps regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow, while a compound called quinide in coffee helps control blood sugar, which reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, thus reducing stroke risk.
Since the catechins in tea and the quinides in coffee attack the problem from different angles, you can see how it would be beneficial to partake in both habits.
In additional to the anti-stroke benefit listed here, drinking green tea has been linked to numerous other health benefits. And the same goes for drinking coffee, in moderation of course.
Most of the benefits associated with drinking tea are still under study, but one thing everyone can agree on is that drinking tea in moderation does no harm. This article in the Harvard Health Publications comes to the same conclusion.
When it comes to coffee, the thinking has shifted in recent times. Where it was once thought of as an unhealthy habit, most now agree that a cup or two of coffee a day is actually good for us.
It turns out much of the bad press coffee got was a result of it usually being paired with cigarettes: coffee drinkers were also smokers. That skewed the results of studies. Now that the effects of coffee have undergone more study in non-smokers, we know that moderate amounts are beneficial.
As a result, it makes a lot of sense to pic up both habits. And if you already have a serious coffee habit, you do not have to end it. You can simply shift some of your coffee drinking to tea. Cut back to one or two cups a day and substitute green tea for the rest of your coffee intake.
Why not pick up the green tea 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.
I Want To Start Drinking Green Tea. What Next?
If you want some help choosing a good tea, this article tells you which ones are good and where to buy them, including several recommendations from Amazon, since it is the easiest place to buy for most of us (but also has a high ratio of low quality teas, so you need to know what to look for).
If you need a good vessel for making and/or drinking tea, the following articles will help:
- If you already have a mug you like, you can save a lot of money and just get one of these best tea infusers to use with your existing mug. Most only cost a few dollars.
- If you don’t have a mug, but want to keep it simple, these mugs with strainers are also cheap and let you brew tea right in the mug.
- If you plan on drinking tea on the go, these travel mugs with filters are ideal.
- If you want to get an actual teapot, these are all great and inexpensive.
When is it best to drink green tea?
You can drink green tea at any time. This article covers the best times to drink tea.
Many people worry about the caffeine keeping them up, but even high-caffeine teas have far less of it than coffee. Unless you are sensitive to caffeine, a small cup of green tea before bedtime should not impact your sleep. In fact, it has numerous benefits, not the least of which is that it may actually help you relax and drift off.