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Heart Health and Matcha Green Tea: What you Need to Know

Nicholas Noble | May 10, 2020

There may not be a ‘wrong’ time to think about heart health. New research says that stress and lifestyle factors as early as childhood may predict future cardiovascular disease [1].

We may not be able to go back in time, but this finding underpins the growing relevance of stress reducing practices alongside regular exercise and healthy diet through all stages of life.

For those with a watchful sense, keeping up on cardio is simply a big part of that process. Not always easy, but the cutting edge of science can shed some light on what practices – like wise choices in food and drink – which may improve upon the time you’re able to set aside for heart-health.

Why Green Tea Matters for Heart Health

Any opportunity to optimize benefits from exercise and healthy activities is welcomed, poignant now with increased risks between ongoing pandemic and cardiovascular conditions [2]. It’s things like sauna practice, intermittent fasting, and daily matcha green tea which are suggested as safe, complementary measures to meet heart health head-on and go above the status-quo.

The body should be treated as a whole, where adequate sleep, hydration, nutrition, and physical movement may confer longevity to a healthy heart.

In the case of good-for-you activity levels, first there’s ‘basic movement’ like walking, which supports organ function and circulation. And second, things like running or lifting which strengthen heart fitness.

Lifestyle Factors for Heart Disease

Modern lifestyles tend to fall short on both, lending reason not only to set aside time to move, but also in educating ourselves of ways to get ‘the most’ benefit out of that time. In the case of matcha drinking, it’s indicated the natural compounds in green tea may increase the metabolic benefits of exercise on heart health.

  • This includes improved circulation [3], as well as fat-burning in managing healthy weight, associated with cardiovascular health.

Like a well-oiled engine, our metabolism relies on movement to run in a healthy way. The recommended amount of exercise is about 30 minutes of moderate activity (or more) per day, according to the American Heart Association, and is a bare necessity for the movement of blood and lymph.

Blood, Lymph Flow and Your Heart

Each of these circulatory systems have a hand in nutrifying and detoxifying healthy heart cells, while playing into their immune health. It's reported that muscular exercise is helpful for these systems to completely circulate and maintain organ health [4].

That said, practices which share similar physiological effects as exercise may also be conducive to healthy hearts:

  • One example is intermittent fasting which improves oxidative stress response by the body, and may attenuate resilience of heart-cells [5], as would exercise.
  • Antioxidants in green tea may protect against exercise-induced free radicals to optimize the beneficial effects of activity levels on heart health [6].

Importance of Heart Health on Longevity

The strength of your heart, blood vessels and lungs is quintessential not only for athletic performance, but also for activities of daily living. Those who have reduced metabolic output are at much higher risk for comorbidities and especially cardiovascular diseases.

Keeping heart muscle engaged through regular activity may help ensure the health of your circulatory system. It can help expand the volume of blood our hearts pump with each stroke, a metric of longevity and long-term heart health.

  • One mechanism reported behind this is elevated nitric oxide (NO) levels from exercise.

NITRIC OXIDE AND GREEN TEA

This is one of the body’s chief arterial-relaxing compounds, and is important for the health of veins as it may protect from atherosclerosis. One reason suggested is by lowering blood pressure, similar to the effects of sauna therapy and catechin antioxidants in matcha green tea [7-8]. 

These mechanisms are related to blood vessels’ ability to ‘contract’ or ‘relax’ in response to temperature, physical, and emotional stress.

  • This is known as vascular-reactivity, and short-term studies have shown that drinking green tea may improve this metric [9].
  • It’s possible that this physiological mechanism may play a role in the late-onset of certain cardiovascular diseases with roots in emotionally tumultuous childhoods.
  • Practices in adulthood which lower blood pressure may help.

It’s also known that harmful levels of fats (cholesterol) in the circulatory system may cause oxidative stress, and in turn arterial stiffening related to atherosclerosis. This state carries increased risk of blood clots and hypertension. Exercise and nutrition are thought to counteract these risks; it's also thought that an anti-inflammatory diet may encourage arterial health.

  • The anti-inflammatory diet includes green tea, which may protect from arterial oxidative damage while lowering levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol [10].
  • Food or drink which helps blood vessels relax may improve the net benefits of exercise and healthy activity levels.

The Bottom Line

The contribution of healthy diet, exercise, and wise-supplementation should not be understated, though it remains that any changes to your healthcare regimen should be made alongside your physician to complement heart-health.

Nevertheless, it’s suggested that the maintenance of healthy weight, the practice of anti-stress mechanisms, and healthy diet – including matcha green tea – may offer added resilience to your heart, overall wellness.

Ultimately, we see that choices synergetic to exercise and diet, may broadly balance –  or improve upon – certain expected benefits.

  • Matcha green tea is only one example which may positively influence healthy habits' immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and hormetic benefits for your heart.

So, rather than start with a barrage of exotic supplements, stick with time tested strategies. With diet, exercise, and a couple bowls of matcha everyday, we may be able to keep our cardiovascular fitness happier than ever.

 

-Team Matcha Kari

 

SHOP MATCHA

 

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References
[1] Pierce, J. B., et al. (2020). Association of childhood psychosocial environment with 30‐year cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality in middle age. Journal of the American Heart Association.
[2] Guo, T., Fan, Y., Chen, M., Wu, X., Zhang, L., He, T., ... & Lu, Z. (2020). Cardiovascular implications of fatal outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA cardiology.
[3] Lorenz, M., Urban, J., Engelhardt, U., Baumann, G., Stangl, K., & Stangl, V. (2009). Green and black tea are equally potent stimuli of NO production and vasodilation: new insights into tea ingredients involved. Basic research in cardiology, 104(1), 100-110.
[4] Gashev, A. A., & Zawieja, D. C. (2010). Hydrodynamic regulation of lymphatic transport and the impact of aging. Pathophysiology, 17(4), 277-287.
[5] Mattson, M. P., & Wan, R. (2005). Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 16(3), 129-137.
[6] Sugita, M., Kapoor, M. P., Nishimura, A., & Okubo, T. (2016). Influence of green tea catechins on oxidative stress metabolites at rest and during exercise in healthy humans. Nutrition, 32(3), 321-331.
[7] Khalesi, S., Sun, J., Buys, N., Jamshidi, A., Nikbakht-Nasrabadi, E., & Khosravi-Boroujeni, H. (2014). Green tea catechins and blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. European journal of nutrition, 53(6), 1299-1311.
[8] Lorenz, M., et al. (2004). A constituent of green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, activates endothelial nitric oxide synthase by a phosphatidylinositol-3-OH-kinase-, cAMP-dependent protein kinase-, and Akt-dependent pathway and leads to endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279(7), 6190-6195.
[9]https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/drinking-tea-may-benefit-the-heart-and-blood-vessels
[10] Zeka, K., Ruparelia, K., Arroo, R. R., Budriesi, R., & Micucci, M. (2017). Flavonoids and their metabolites: prevention in cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Diseases, 5(3), 19.

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