Green tea, Camellia sinensis (Theaceae), a major source of flavonoids such as catechins, has recently shown multiple cardiovascular health benefits through various experimental and clinical studies.
These studies suggest that green tea catechins prevent the incidence of detrimental cardiovascular events, and also lower the cardiovascular mortality rate.
Catechins present in green tea have the ability to prevent atherosclerosis, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, ischemic heart diseases, cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy and congestive heart failure by decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, reducing platelet aggregation and halting the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells.
Catechins afford an anti-oxidant effect by inducing anti-oxidant enzymes, inhibiting pro-oxidant enzymes and scavenging free radicals. Catechins present anti-inflammatory activity through the inhibition of transcriptional factor NF-κB-mediated production of cytokines and adhesion molecules. Green tea catechins interfere with vascular growth factors and thus inhibit vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and also inhibit thrombogenesis by suppressing platelet adhesion. Additionally, catechins could protect vascular endothelial cells and enhance vascular integrity and regulate blood pressure.