Sencha spotlight: The health benefits of Japanese tea (Part three)
In addition to improving heart health and containing high levels of antioxidants, catechins have also been studied to:
- Prevent the onset of hypertension (Part two)
- Suppress the levels of cholesterol.
Suppressing the levels of cholesterol
The cholesterol levels present in bloodstream plays a role in inducing lifestyle-related diseases. Cholesterol is divided into two primary types: HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
When there is a high concentration of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, the cholesterol will collect in the walls of the blood vessel. This prevents blood from circulating smoothly. This is likely to lead to the development of medical conditions such as a heart attack.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a type of catechin found abundantly in tea, has been studied to be effective in limiting LDL oxidation.
In a study, blood samples were taken from adults who consumed seven cups of tea daily (approximately 600g). Over a course of a week, test results showed that the LDL oxidation levels of these participants were significantly lower than the average adult. Furthermore, the HDL cholesterol levels in participants who consumed 400mg of catechin (approximately 6 cups of tea) daily over the course of three months, had increased. (Isao Tomita et al., 1998).