Drink green tea for longer life

New York, September 13 :

Drinking several cups of green tea every day reduces heart disease risk and could lead to a longer life, states a new study.

Shinichi Kuriyama of the Tohoko University Graduate School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan, studied over 40,000 people in Japan and their daily green tea intake, reported the online edition of New Scientist. Green tea is the predominant tea beverage consumed across Japan. About a quarter of the 40,000 subjects drank less than one cup a day, on an average, while a similar number reported drinking more than five cups, or half a litre, daily.

The researchers began the study in 1994 and tracked the health of the participants for more than a decade. The number of participants who died from cardiovascular causes during this period was small — less than one per cent of those in each category of tea consumption.

Those who consumed more than five cups of green tea daily had a 26 per cent lower risk of

dying from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed less than one cup a day, the researchers found.

Exactly how green tea protects against heart disease remains unclear, but Kuriyama speculates that antioxidant chemicals in green tea, called polyphenols, reduce the action of free radicals in the body, which may damage cells. Previous studies have suggested that the drink may protect against cancer of the prostate or lung as well. However, the Japanese researchers found no significant difference in cancer-related mortality among the different groups.