Green Tea Shows Cholesterol Lowering Potential

By Michael A. Smith, MD

A friend of mine has high LDL-cholesterol — you know, the “bad” stuff. She refuses to take prescription medications and insists on modifying her moderate risk of heart disease with nutrients alone. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult for her. She tried red yeast rice a few months ago, but she just couldn’t tolerate the queasiness that went along with it.

After giving up on red yeast rice, she tried both high doses of niacin and fish oils — but once again, her stomach wasn’t pleased at all. At this point, she won’t even try other nutrients like policosanol, soluble fiber or sytrinol for fear of having even more stomach problems. So now what?

Green Tea to the Rescue

A recent review of several published studies has found that drinking green tea or taking a green tea extract is linked to reductions in total and LDL-cholesterol; however, there was no effect on the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) or triglycerides.1

The researchers from Western University in Pomona, California, published the findings in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. They decided to use a pooled analysis of different studies simply because individual studies using green tea were too small to draw any significant conclusions.

By pooling evidence from a number of trials, they could more confidently examine the relationship between the consumption of green tea antioxidants and changes in levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides.

They ended up analyzing 20 randomized controlled trials, involving a little more than 1,400 people. After pooling the data, their analysis returned the following results:1

  • Green tea significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol when compared to the control groups.
  • The effective dose range was between 145 to 3,000 mg of green tea antioxidants per day.
  • The time it took to see measurable changes was from 3 to 24 weeks.
  • Green tea did not improve HDL-cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
The researchers were careful to warn that people shouldn’t stop taking their cholesterol-lowering medications and switch to green tea. Obviously, more large-scaled, multi-centered clinical studies are needed before green tea can be considered as a legitimate treatment option. But, hey, let’s not let that detract from the results. So far it’s certainly looking very promising.

What Else Can Green Tea Do?

Pretty much every week now a new study comes across my desk highlighting a new benefit of green tea. It’s actually pretty amazing what camellia sinensis can do for your health. Drum-roll please …

  • Promotes weight loss2
  • Boosts the effectiveness of liver detoxification processes3
  • Protects against prostate cancer4
  • Enhances immune function5
  • Displays protective effects on brain tissues6
If you really want to do something good for your body, add green tea to your daily routine. If drinking tea isn’t your thing, then consider adding a green tea extract to your supplement regimen. You’ll reap the benefits from head to toe, literally.

Green Tea Dark Chocolate Truffles

Here’s a recipe straight from the Food Channel.7 These indulgent dark chocolate ganache truffles are rolled in intense matcha green tea powder. These Japanese-inspired chocolates pack lots of flavor AND style:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea
  • 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped, divided
  • matcha green tea, as needed to coat truffles
Preparation

  1. Combine cream, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea in a nonstick sauce pan and whisk to blend. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat.
  2. Immediately add 5 ounces of fine chopped chocolate to hot cream mixture and gently stir to blend. Spread chocolate/cream ganache mixture in shallow dish and refrigerate until firm to touch.
  3. Shape chilled chocolate ganache mixture into balls and arrange on plate or baking sheet lined with wax paper. (If chocolate ganache gets too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate briefly.)
  4. Freeze truffles until firm.
  5. Melt 2 ounces chopped chocolate in top of double boiler. Dip frozen truffles in chocolate to lightly coat. Cool.
  6. Roll cooled truffles in matcha green tea powder to lightly coat. Store truffles in refrigerator until ready to serve.
This is a great recipe for the holidays. Enjoy!

References

  1. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Nov;111(11):1720-9.
  2. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2008 Dec;78(6):275-81.
  3. Carcinogenesis. 2000 Jan;21(1):63-7.
  4. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2006 Apr;6(4):507-13.
  5. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 May;49(5):463-73.
  6. J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Sep;19(9):619-26.
  7. http://www.foodchannel.com/recipes/recipe/green-tea-dark-chocolate-truffles/

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13 comments:

Weight Loss Plans said...

Its really nice information.

Life Extension said...

And it's nice of you to read our posts! We're glad you enjoy them.

Green Tea said...

I would like to thank for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.

Life Extension said...

You're welcome! And thank you for reading our blog posts.

Buy Loose Tea said...

Wow, great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!

Jasmine Green Tea said...

It's great to know that there are many benefits of green tea, right? I was a coffee drinker before, but switched to drinking tea for 3 years now because of studies and information like you have here. What's not to like about tea, you're enjoying the great taste and live healthy as well. :) Thanks a lot and have a happy new year.

arboursdentistry said...

I really like this article I will go through your explanation for the weight loss

benefits of green tea said...

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.

LifeExtension said...

benefits of green tea - Right! Green tea has impressive neuro-protective effects. Thanks for reading. :)

Anonymous said...

Is green ice tea just as potent as hot?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - This study should answer your question: http://ow.ly/pmhcl

Anonymous said...

Is it true that green tea is a Th2 stimulating compound which means ppl with Th2 dominant autoimmune disease (like allergies/asthma) shouldn't have it as it tips the immune system out of balance?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - We've found research suggesting green tea has immuno-modulating effects: http://ow.ly/pqxDp. But yes, there are studies showing that green tea may exacerbate but also ameliorate asthma and allergies: http://ow.ly/pqy80 http://ow.ly/pqyix

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