Green tea and cholesterol…They have come together after many researchers have studied the effects of tea on cardiovascular disease where many suggest it has a positive effect on cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
If you want to know more about green tea in relation to high blood pressure, check out: green tea high blood pressure.
In this section we will focus on cholesterol…but what exactly is cholesterol?
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which we need to build and maintain cell membranes. It’s mainly formed in our liver from high saturated fats and high cholesterol foods in our diet.
Cholesterol and fat (officially called lipids) are not soluble in water so lipoproteins are the ones to transport these substances. The two most important carriers of cholesterol in the blood are low density (LDL) and high density (HDL) lipoproteins.
Most of the LDL molecules will be absorbed by the liver or kidneys. The remaining LDL molecules with cholesterol stay in the blood vessels, only to be absorbed by cells in the walls of blood vessels. This contributes to artery blockages (atherosclerosis) or narrowed arteries (arteriosclerosis).These blockages are the main causes of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. No wonder LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
The HDL lipoproteins transport “excess” cholesterol from cells back to the liver or other tissues for excretion. These molecules are transported through the blood where they absorb cholesterol. This is the so-called “good” cholesterol, responsible for avoiding various health problems (Gordon, 1989).
We need cholesterol but TOO MUCH cholesterol specifically LDL cholesterol can lead to many diseases.
Wondering how green tea can help to avoid this? You can find the a complete overview of the green tea and cholesterol facts here: green tea and cholesterol facts.
But what should be your daily green tea intake to prevent high cholesterol, or to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol?
What should be the daily intake?
Most researchers recommend a green tea intake of 5 cups a day to make the cholesterol benefits noticeable. After drinking more than 10 cups a day the benefits will level off (Tokunaga, 2002).
Before being able to measure the results with green tea it’s important to do a cholesterol check at a licensed health care practitioner. Then you know what would be normal for you.
According to the American Health Association the healthy level for total cholesterol is anything under 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Your HDL (good) cholesterol needs to be over 40 mg/dL.
It may take some time before you notice any result since all of your blood vessels have to be repaired and cleaned.
Just improve your daily lifestyle choices and soon you will notice a difference!
Other healthy choices are a daily intake of soluble fiber such as oats and preventing high cholesterol and high saturated fat foods. Also, increasing daily exercise, managing stress, looking after your weight, and quit smoking will help you to improve your cholesterol.
Sources green tea and cholesterol
Gordon DJ, Probstfield JL, Garrison RJ, Neaton JD, Castelli WP, Knoke JD, Jacobs DR, Bangdiwala S, Tyroler HA. “High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Four prospective American studies”. Circulation. 1989; 79(1): 8–15.
Tokunaga S, White IR, Frost C, Tanaka K, Kono S, Tokudome S, Akamatsu T, Moriyama T, Zakouji H. Green Tea Consumption and Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins in a Population of Healthy Workers in Japan. Annals of Epidemiology. 2002: 12(3):157-165.