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Diet & Health : Heart & Blood Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Drinking green tea helps prevent heart disease
By Ben Wasserman
Jul 3, 2008 - 11:49:56 AM

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THRSDAY July 3, 2008 ( -- Drinking a few cups of green tea a day may keep heart disease away, a Greek study suggests.

The study showed green tea relaxes arteries and improves blood flow, said Charalambos Vlachopoulos, coauthor and a cardiologist at the Athens Medical School in Greece.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

Early studies have linked green tea to reduced risk of a range of cancers and other health benefits.  

Evidence has also merged suggesting that drinking black tea also benefit cardiovascular health.

But researchers said green tea beats black tea when it comes to their cardiovascular benefits because the former contains higher amounts of beneficial compounds called flavonoids.

Flavonoids are a group of different phytochemicals and some are also found in cocoa, tomatoes and grapes.

For the current study, the researcher assigned 14 healthy volunteers either green tea, diluted caffeine or hot water. And they tested the function of endothelial cells lining the circulatory system.

They found within as short as 30 minutes of drinking green tea the function of these cells, which help relax arteries and make it easy for the blood to flow, was improved.

Drinking green tea is not as common as drinking black tea in the West where more people die each year from heart disease.

The observed effect was a short-term impact. But Reuters cites Vlachopolous as saying that not-yet-published studies indicate the benefit is long lasting.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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