Heart disease is a common condition in the UK, affecting around 7.6 million people. An active lifestyle and healthy diet can help in its prevention. More specifically, green tea could help reduce your risk of something known as an artery explosion.
An artery explosion is also known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm, it occurs when the main artery becomes overstretched and bloated.
If these aneurysms aren’t treated, they can lead to death in 50 percent of patients.
Conducting a study on rats and publishing the data in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, researchers found rats who drank green tea had a lower risk of suffering the cardiovascular event.
The tea treated said rats with enzymes that caused an aneurysm to occur and observed how green tea affected them.
They also observed how the rats who had taken green tea had less inflammation and produced more elastin, protecting the artery from rupturing.
One of the study’s authors, Kenji Minakata, said this type of heart disease was difficult to treat: “Abdominal aortic aneurysms often go unnoticed because there are no symptoms until they burst.
“If a patient is lucky and bloating is found before rupture, it needs to be treated surgically, such as by transplanting an artificial blood vessel or inserting a stent graft.”
One of the reasons why green tea has been found to have such substantial benefits for the heart is down to the natural compounds inside it.
Minakata said: “The type of polyphenol found in green tea has recently been shown to regenerate elastin, an essential protein that gives the artery its stretchy, yet sturdy, texture.”
Minkata added: “Considering that abdominal arterial aneurysms are caused by inflammation and the degradation of elastin components in the arterial wall, we thought drinking green tea may show promise for treatment.”
Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in Japan, a country with a growing elderly population whose longevity has been driven in part by their diet.
Minakata said: “Japanese people have the longest lifespan in the world, and studies show that 80 percent of the population drink green tea on a daily basis.
“We believe daily intake of green tea should be considered as a new preventative strategy for abdominal aortic aneurysm; the focus of future studies will be to investigate optimal doses.”
On this study however, it is important to note one very key point, time. The study was published in 2016 so it is important not to rule out a new study which may have published data to the contrary.
Symptoms of an aortic aneurysm
Early symptoms, says the NHS, include:
- Pulsing sensation in the tummy.
- Tummy pain that does not go away.
- Lower back pain that does not go away.
If the ‘artery explosion’ occurs, patients normally experience:
- Sudden, severe pain in the tummy or lower back.
- Sweaty, pale, and clammy skin.
- A fast heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Fainting or passing out.
How is it treated?
Treatment of an aneurysm depends on its size. If it’s large, it may require surgery. However, it differs if it isn’t.
The NHS says: “You might not need treatment if you have a small or medium AAA. This is because the risk of the AAA bursting is smaller than the risk of complications from surgery.
“You'll also be told about lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of an aneurysm getting bigger, such as eating healthily.”
On small and medium aneurysms it reassured: “You can otherwise carry on as normal, although having an AAA may have some implications for things such as driving and getting travel insurance.”