Green tea + Mediterranean diet = happy heart?

I know, everyone is getting tired of my constant paranoid posts about heart disease. I am still terrified of heart disease, and am very worried about the health of my ticker. So any kind of news about heart health gets my interest (I even have a news alert set up on Yahoo about this topic). Last week, there was the story about how great the Mediterranean Diet is for a person’s health. This week, it is green tea:

A new study shows that [green tea]… can protect heart arteries by keeping them flexible and relaxed, and therefore better able to withstand the ups and downs of constant changes in blood pressure…. [The] scientists speculate, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping cells there to secrete the substances needed to relax the vessels and allow blood to flow more freely. It’s the flavonoids in the tea, which work as antioxidants and help prevent inflammation in body tissue, that keep the vessels pliable. These substances may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause ofheart attacks. (via Time/Yahoo)

I used to drink a whole lot of green tea, but I had it sweetened. And I dropped this because of the sugar. Getting rid of those extra calories was a good idea, but apparently getting rid of the green tea was not. There’s more research to be done, of course. But the anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies sure point to green tea being a must-have part of a person’s diet.

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