Cholesterol-Lowering Health Benefits of Green Tea

cholesterol-loweringCholesterol is actually a substance that is similar to fat. Even though there are numerous risks of having higher levels within the bloodstream, it does perform an essential part in our health, by forming cell membranes and a number of hormones. However, in excess cholesterol accumulates along the inner walls of our arteries. Together with other substances flowing in the blood-stream it develops into a plaque, the hard deposits that begin to clog up arteries, suppressing blood circulation and increasing the risk for heart problems and cardiovascular disease. This clogging of the arteries is specifically diagnosed as atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries).

Taking steps to reduce cholesterol in order to sustain healthy levels is very important not just for cardiovascular health but for overall health and wellness, too. Thankfully there are lots of natural options that can help with lowering cholesterol, like consuming a diet high in fiber or drinking green tea. The wide-ranging benefits of green tea have already been explored, researched, and discussed for decades. So what are the facts behind these claims that consuming green tea can lower cholesterol? How might a cup of green tea have any influence on cholesterol levels? Can green tea really help to protect us from heart disease?

The Potency of Green Tea
Exactly why is green tea a valuable beverage for bettering cholesterol levels? It’s very high in anti-oxidants, from quercetin to catechin. Anti-oxidants help prevent oxidative damage of cholesterol. This is significant factor for protecting against plaque build-ups since oxidized LDL cholesterol becomes sticky and then attaches to the artery walls.

Based on findings by research at the University of Maryland it has been demonstrated that there’s a direct connection between green tea usage and a decreased risk of atherosclerosis. Consuming green tea seems to lower total cholesterol levels and even increases levels of HDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the ‘good cholesterol’. Based on animal studies it’s also feasible that a few of the anti-oxidants within green tea inhibit the absorption of cholesterol within the intestines, therefore promoting the excretion of some cholesterol. Research carried out at Vanderbilt University determined that green tea extract (which is a concentrated supplement form of green tea) fortified with anti-oxidants found abundantly in black tea known as theaflavin, is a highly effective natural remedy for decreasing blood cholesterol levels in combination with low saturated fat diet.

Can Green Tea Protect Against Heart Disease?
In spite of the optimistic research, substantial levels of health-promoting anti-oxidants, and therapeutic potential, green tea is not yet identified by the FDA as being a prevention based therapy for heart disease (big surprise). Exactly why is this? Although there’s a great deal of research to back up the health benefits of green tea, from cholesterol-reducing effects to boosting the metabolism as well as helping to protect against numerous cancers, there isn’t enough definitive proof (according to the FDA) to give this healthy beverage the green light, so to speak.

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