Green Tea Reduces Stroke Risk, Study Suggests (PICTURES)

Green tea and coffee both reduce the risk of strokes, especially those caused by bleeding in the brain, a study has found.

Scientists questioned more than 83,000 Japanese adults about their consumption of the beverages and monitored them for 13 years.

They found that drinking more green tea or coffee lowered the risk of stroke.

People who consumed at least one cup of coffee a day had a 20% reduced risk compared with those who rarely drank coffee.

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Likewise, study participants who drank two to three cups of green tea daily reduced their chances of a stroke by 14%.

The biggest impact was on haemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. Drinking at least one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea a day reduced the risk of this type of stroke by 32%.

Those taking part in the study were equal numbers of men and women aged 45 to 74 years old.

Previous research has associated green tea with fewer deaths from heart disease, but only touched on the association with stroke.

A typical cup of coffee or tea in Japan weighs approximately six ounces (170 grams).

Study leader Dr Yoshihiro Kokubo, from Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Centre, said: "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."

The findings are published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Antioxidant chemicals called catechins may underlie the protective effect of green tea, say the authors.

Another chemical in coffee, chlorogenic acid, is said to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. It may cut stroke risk by reducing the chances of developing diabetes, the researchers add.