A group of Curtin researchers have found that drinking green tea regularly and over a long period of time can help to reduce the rate of stroke.
Their report was recently published in the medical journal Stroke and specifically targeted ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke around the world.
The study took place in southern China and found that those who had already experienced stroke were less likely to experience a recurrence if they drank green or oolong tea over a long period of time.
Professor Colin Binns, one of the researchers in the study, said that green tea appeared to reduce the rate of ischemic stroke by just over 50 per cent.
“We’ve discovered positive associations with drinking green tea and oolong tea. With the black tea, which is what we drink in Australia, it contains the same beneficial substances but not to the same extent as green tea does. Not quite the same concentration,” he said.
Professor Binns said there are hundreds of different chemicals in tea which could be involved in stroke prevention but they believe the main chemical is an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate which may prevent some blood clotting and reduce cholesterol.
He hopes their research will convince people to lead healthier lives by not only drinking tea but also eating well, and exercising regularly which will help to reduce the risk of stroke and improve life expectancy.
“If you are going to drink a beverage … then you might want to consider drinking green tea … So if you’re choosing between two hot drinks, the most common ones in Australia are tea and coffee, then tea is probably a better bet. If you are looking at what kind of tea to drink, then probably green tea has slightly more of the beneficial substances than black tea. But nevertheless black tea is probably still healthier for you than drinking coffee,” he said.
“Everybody is predisposed to stroke. It’s the fifth most common cause of death around the world.”
A lot of stroke has been prevented in Australia because we’ve been very good at controlling blood pressure … and controlling blood pressure is a very important step in controlling stroke. So is controlling cholesterol and other things which lead to cardiovascular disease but we can still do more by encouraging other aspects of health and lifestyle.”
Drinking green tea is not a guaranteed cure for stroke but Professor Binns said they will be following the small group of patients that were drinking green tea and still had a stroke to see whether they still live longer than those who weren’t.
The researchers have also previously linked drinking green tea to the prevention of prostate and ovarian cancers and have suggested it may assist in the prevention of breast cancer.