Did you know…that two of the world’s most popular beverages dramatically reduce risk of debilitating stroke?
Count to 40 in your head. Chances are, somewhere in the United States, a person has just had a stroke. Strokes take 3rd place on the list of leading causes of death, and are 1st on the list of causes of serious, long-term disability.
Good news is on the way, however: The American Heart Association recently released exciting and unprecedented findings indicating a simple (and enjoyable) way to reduce your risk of stroke: drink more coffee and green tea.
“This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks,” said Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.C.C., F.E.S.C., the study’s lead author.
And the amazing part is that the 2 drinks have synergistic effects that are multiplied for those who drink both coffee and green tea, according to Kokubo and his team at Japan’s National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center.
FACT: Researchers found that putting the 2 drinks together (not in the same cup, unless that’s your unusual taste preference!) magnifies the health benefits of both coffee and green tea.
The study showed that individuals who drink green tea and coffee every day not only have a lower risk of stroke than those who drink neither, but also a lower risk than those who drink just one or the other.
Strokes: A Risky Business
A stroke results from an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Typically this is caused by either by an arterial blockage from a blood clot or from a broken blood vessel.
Cut off from a steady supply of blood, brain cells begin to die. Depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs, this can damage functions such as…
Prior studies has established a link between green tea consumption and a lowered risk of death from heart disease, but these older studies only hinted at an association between green tea and a decreased risk of stroke. Meanwhile, past research had only inconsistently shown coffee’s effect on stroke risk.
That’s what makes this latest study so groundbreaking and hopeful.
In March of 2013, the American Heart Association’s journal, Stroke, published Kokubo and his colleagues’ work.
A Cup a Day Keeps Strokes Away
After tracking the coffee and green tea intake of 83,269 Japanese adults for an average of 13 years, the researchers found that the more green tea or coffee a participant drank, the lower his or her stroke risk.
Specifically, those who drank between 1 and 4 cups of coffee and tea daily had approximately a 20% lower risk than those who rarely or never did.
Though the study’s data was self-reported, the conclusions are upheld by the results of nationwide health screenings.
Catechins, Chloreogenic Acid, and Cardiovascular Health
It’s not crystal clear how coffee and green tea decrease risk of stroke, but scientists believe catechins may play a role. Catechins are powerful antioxidants, allowing them to boost the antioxidant and anti-thrombogenic capacity of plasma.
Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, which further lowers risk of stroke by reducing the odds of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Lead author Kokubo stated: “The regular action of drinking tea [and] coffee largely benefits cardiovascular health because it partly keeps blood clots from forming.”
He hopes additional research on the interaction between coffee and green tea will illuminate how these two beverages combine to reduce risk of stroke. His work so far seems reason enough to say “drink up!”