Researchers are now suggesting that green tea could help prevent heart attacks and strokes. A compound found in the common household item could help dissolve harmful protein plague that builds up in the arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis.
Green Tea Is The Key
Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fatty substances in the arteries which can lead to less blood flow to the brain and the heart.
The protein, apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1), occurs in the more advanced stages and can produce amyloid deposits. These deposits, which are the same as the structure of substances that cause Alzheimer's disease, build up in the atherosclerotic plaques. This will increase the size of the plaques which continued to lessen the blood flow and increase the risk of a stroke or a heart attack.
The team of researchers from Lancaster University discovered that the molecule, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is associated with green tea, can bind to the protein, apoA-1, and break into smaller molecules that will less likely damage blood vessels.
The researchers discovered this by brewing green tea in the microwave.
More Research Is Needed
Experts claim that even though this new discovery could enable possibilities for developing new molecules that can fight deposits in the blood vessels, it is not certain that green tea will help with this condition.
Co-author of the study, Professor David Middleton, suggested that drinking an enormous amount of green tea may not have an effect. However, the study is suggesting that the molecule EGCG needs to be examined more.
Other experts have stated that this new finding should be taken with caution.
"We've been here before with novel agents in foods and drinks which may lessen some health risks but, to date, few things have led to any real advances. So, my advice would be not to rush to [drink] green tea for now," Professor Naveed Sattar, stated.
Another co-author of the study, Professor Sheena Radford, stated that this new information is "encouraging" and that the researchers need to find new ways to take the molecule EGCG from green tea and turn it into a functioning tool that can help combat health issues.
The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and was funded by the British Heart Foundation.