If you have high cholesterol, you might want to incorporate tea, especially green tea, in your diet. Studies show it has many medicinal properties, including helping to lower LDL the "bad" type of cholesterol.
Green tea, unlike black or oolong tea, is not fermented. Its leaves are withered and steamed, leaving them full of the antioxidant properties that may make them beneficial.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, green tea is a good source of powerful anti-oxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols can neutralize damaging free radicals in the body that may contribute to many health problems. Green tea has been studied extensively in animals, people and in the lab.
- A study of 1,371 men in Japan over age 40, found that those who drank more green tea had lower total cholesterol and triglycerides and a higher amount of HDL, the "good" cholesterol.
- Another large study in Norway found lower total blood cholesterol in those who drank the most tea of any type.
- A study of Chinese adults who had high cholesterol found that drinking green tea was a good adjunct to a low saturated-fat diet, in order to bring down cholesterol levels.
In animal studies, scientists have studied the components of tea to see how they might be beneficial. They discovered that the polyphenols in green tea reduce intestinal absorption of cholesterol, reduce the amount of cholesterol in the liver and increase the amount of fatty acids that are excreted.
Green tea seems to have other health benefits as well, including contributing to a lower risk of many kinds of cancer.
A review of the safety of green tea by the U.S. Pharmacopeia found it to be safe. It did suggest not drinking green tea on an empty stomach, though, to reduce the chance of any unwanted effects.
That said, the University of Maryland advises that people with heart disease, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers or anxiety avoid green tea. If you have concerns, check with your doctor or a nutritionist.