Green tea (Camellia sinensis) may provide antioxidant benefits similar to vitamins C and E, according to one study.
Medical doctors often recommend vitamins C and E to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. The vitamins, and now possibly green tea, reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad”, cholesterol, a process that can lead to clogged arteries. Specifically, they fight atherosclerosis, which results in plaque deposits on the walls of large and medium arteries.
In a laboratory test in Australia, scientists experimented with equal amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea extract. Green tea was more active than vitamin C and practically equivalent to that of vitamin E, their results show.
While testing of green tea extract will be needed in humans, the researchers concluded that if green tea’s antioxidant components are fully absorbed, a cup a day may be enough to provide an adequate intake of antioxidants.
Luo, M., et al. “Inhibition of LDL oxidation by green tea extract.” The Lancet 1997, 349:360-361.