A POPULAR hot drink could help prevent a package of serious diseases, science has found.
Drinking more green tea made significant improvements to health – a finding which surprised US researchers.
They believe the brew could offset risk factors that are linked to metabolic syndrome.
However, the new study, by Ohio State University, suggests green tea could improve all these factors.
A group of 40 people were recruited for the study. For one part of the study, they took green tea supplements for 28 days.
The gummy sweets contained the compound catechinsdose and was the equivalent of five cups of green tea.
Over another 28 days, they had dummy pills, according to the findings published in Current Developments in Nutrition.
In both parts of the experiments they ate a diet that was low in fruit and veg to make sure any positive results could be attributed to green tea, and not a healthy diet.
The results showed that fasting blood glucose levels for all participants were significantly lower during the green-tea phase.
Poo samples showed fewer markers of gut inflammation, and “leaky gut” was reduced.
Leaky gut, or gut permeability, is when the gut lining has cracks or holes in, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation.
This is thought to be an “initiating factor for obesity and insulin resistance, which are central to all cardiometabolic disorders”, according to Richard Bruno, senior study author and professor of human nutrition.
He said: “If we can improve gut integrity and reduce leaky gut, the thought is we’ll be able to not only alleviate low-grade inflammation that initiates cardiometabolic disorders, but potentially reverse them.”
All the participants – half healthy and half with metabolic syndrome – saw benefits, an unexpected finding for the research team.
Prof Bruno said: “What this tells us is that within one month we’re able to lower blood glucose in both people with metabolic syndrome and healthy people.
“The lowering of blood glucose appears to be related to decreasing leaky gut and decreasing gut inflammation – regardless of health status.”
But Prof Bruno added: “We did not attempt to cure metabolic syndrome with a one-month study.
“But based on what we know about the causal factors behind metabolic syndrome, there is potential for green tea to be acting at least in part at the gut level to alleviate the risk for either developing it or reversing it if you already have metabolic syndrome. “
Most often, doctors will tell people at risk of metabolic syndrome to improve their lifestyle habits – eat healthier and exercise more.
“Unfortunately, we know most persons can’t comply with lifestyle modifications for various reasons,” Prof Bruno said.
Green tea isn’t as popular in the Western world as it is in the East, where it has origins in China.
But the findings aren’t very strong and are often observational, have small sample sizes or other limitations.