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Coffee, Green Tea Reduce Stroke Risk: Study

Mar 15, 2013 05:14 AM EDT
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Drinking green tea and coffee might lower a person's chances of having a stroke, according to a new study.

The study was based on a large study group of nearly 84,000 men and women living in Japan who were followed for some 13 years. The study found that stroke risk decreased for people who regularly drank green tea or coffee. One cup of coffee or three-four cups of green tea per day lowered the risk of having stroke by 20 percent. A cup of coffee or tea in Japan was approximately six ounces.

"This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks. You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet," said Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D., from Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center and lead author of the study.

There are about 795,000 people in the U.S. who have a stroke in a given year and a whopping 610,000 are first-time strokes. The condition is not only the leading cause of death in the country, but also one of the leading causes of disability in older American citizens, according to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the present study, researchers obtained medical data of the participants enrolled in the study and closely looked at their lifestyle and diets. They accounted for other factors like age, sex, weight, smoking and alcohol consumption that might have skewed the results.

There are many conflicting reports on the effects of coffee. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that coffee consumption can't be linked to risk of heart attacks or stroke, while another study says that coffee is positively related to increased risk of heart attack. Another study says that coffee consumption is related to a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD).  

Previous research, published in the journal Stroke in 2009, had supported the idea that drinking green or black tea could reduce the risk of stroke. Another study had reported that encouraging green tea consumption could be a good method for prevention of stroke.

The compound catechins in green tea and chlorogenic acid present in coffee might be behind the beverages' ability to reduce stroke risk.

"The regular action of drinking tea, coffee, largely benefits cardiovascular health because it partly keeps blood clots from forming," Kokubo said in a news release.

The study is published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. 

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