Green tea is well-known for its health benefits. This tea is packed with antioxidants and contains polyphenols. In fact, the University of Purdue discovered that the polyphenols in green tea can help to prevent cancer. Now, we’re learning that green tea can help to lower your cholesterol too.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published an article claiming that green tea and green tea extract lower blood cholesterol. The researchers analyzed 14 previously completed experiments to come to this conclusion. The study reported on total cholesterol, HDL (“good cholesterol”) and LDL (“bad cholesterol”). The previous experiments were conducted on adults and measured fasting cholesterol. The study concluded that green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered both total cholesterol and LDL, but had no noticeable effect on HDL.
Despite the noticeable results, green tea may not be the best choice for some people. The University of Maryland Medical Center cautions:
“[p]eople with heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders (particularly anxiety) should not take green tea.”
Unfortunately, green tea also contains caffeine, so it is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people who are sensitive to caffeine. Liver damage has been associated with excess green tea consumption, and over-consumption of caffeine can also cause health problems. In addition, green tea can interact with certain medications, including those designed to lower cholesterol.
There are several things to take into account before you make the decision to include green tea in your diet. First of all, you should discuss taking green tea or green tea extract with your doctor if you have health problems or are on any medications. Secondly, green tea will not replace a cholesterol lowering prescription medication for those who have problems with high cholesterol. These medications are much more powerful for lowering cholesterol than green tea and green tea extract. That being said, moderate consumption (no more than 2-3 cups daily) of green tea would make a great addition to a healthy diet, and will help to prevent certain health problems in healthy individuals.