Japanese researchers analyzed data from 20 studies involving more than 1,400 people who either drank green tea or took supplements of green tea extract. They found that a natural component of green tea called "catechins" — a powerful antioxidant — offers strong natural medicine for a healthier heart.
The people in the studies either drank green tea or took green tea extract, delivering doses of catechins (the powerful antioxidants in green tea) ranging from 145 to 3,000 mg daily, for three to 24 weeks. On average, their bad LDL cholesterol dropped 5.3 mg/dL more than people taking a placebo, and their total cholesterol dropped 5.5 mg/dL more.
"The consumption of green tea catechins is associated with a statistically significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels," concluded the researchers. And unlike cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, research shows that green tea actually improves health — and prolongs life.
It's important to note that most of the bottled green teas you find in markets are not a good source of catechins — but they are loaded with health-hurting sugar. Instead, drink the green tea you make yourself, from a teabag or leaves.
One cup of green tea contains about 200 mg of catechins, including 80 mg of EGCG, the most biologically active catechin.
"Green tea catechins decrease total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a systematic review and meta-analysis," Kim A, Chiu A, et al, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2011 Nov;111(11):1720-9.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.