Drinking at least three cups of green or black tea a day can significantly reduce the risk of stroke, a new UCLA study has found. And the more you drink, the better your odds of staving off a stroke.
The UCLA researchers conducted an evidence-based review of all human observational studies on stroke and tea consumption. They found nine studies describing 4,378 strokes among nearly 195,000 individuals.
They found that by drinking three cups of green or black tea a day, the risk of a stroke was reduced by 21 percent. Follow that with another three cups and the risk drops another 21 percent.
Though no one is certain which compounds in tea are responsible for stroke prevention, researchers have speculated that the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or the amino acid theanine may be what helps. Antioxidants are believed to help prevent coronary artery disease.
Although a randomized clinical trial is needed to confirm this effect, the findings suggest that drinking three cups of green or black tea a day could help prevent an ischemic stroke.
The study looked only at black and green tea, not herbal tea. Green and black come from the leaves of an evergreen plant called Camellia sinensis. Herbal tea isn't considered a true tea because it's not made from Camellia sinensis. Herbal teas are brewed from flowers, grasses, and herbs.
An ischemic stroke is the most common kind of stroke. It's caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain (as from a clot blocking a blood vessel).
The study results, published in the online edition of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, were presented last month at the American Heart Association's annual International Stroke Conference in San Diego, California.
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