While Americans are drinking big glasses of iced beverages with meals, Asian cultures – which have significantly less cardiovascular disease than Americans – drink green tea.
Green tea has been a standard mealtime beverage for thousands of years and has gained much attention in the research community for its health benefits, particularly for the heart.
In a study published in the journal Nutrition, 111 men and women were randomly separated into two groups. One group took a decaffeinated green tea supplement (one capsule) and the other group took a placebo twice a day.
After just three weeks, the blood pressures of those in the green tea group had reduced, and the reduction was maintained for 3 months after the study.
Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were also lowered in the green tea drinking group and not in the placebo. Inflammation and oxidative stress markers also decreased in the green tea group.
The researchers concluded that folks with high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and free radical damage or oxidative stress may benefit from drinking green tea.
Interestingly, this study was done with decaffeinated green tea, so those sensitive to caffeine can still get these benefits.
According to Ayurveda, drinking a hot beverage versus a cold one with a meal relaxes the stomach and allows for better digestion. So, next time you are at a restaurant consider a hot drink and steer clear of large glasses of ice water.
Nutrition. 2008. Oct 8
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