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Green Tea and Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Stroke

Update Date: Mar 14, 2013 05:56 PM EDT

Good news for coffee and green tea drinkers alike! That cup may not just be boosting your energy levels and making you feel refreshed - it may also be lowering your risk of a stroke. Researchers from Japan have found that making it a habit to drink coffee and green tea may lower your risk of stroke by as much as 20 percent.

Researchers collected data from 83,269 Japanese adults who were between 45 and 74 years of age. The researchers tracked them for about 13 years. During the course of a decade, researchers examined the participants' hospital records and death certificates, paying particular attention to data about heart disease, strokes and causes of death. The scientists accounted for various factors, such as age and sex, as well as lifestyle factors, like alcohol, diet, exercise, smoking and weight.

The researchers found that people who drank at least one 6-ounce cup of coffee a day saw their chances of having a stroke reduced by 20 percent, compared to people who never drank java. Among green tea drinkers, drinking just one 6-ounce cup a day lowered the risk of a stroke by 14 percent, while drinking four cups lowered the risk of a stroke by 20 percent.

Researchers also looked at the effect that these beverages may have against intracerebral hemorrhages, which is when a blood vessel explodes and bleeds in the brain. In total, 13 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic. The data showed that drinking one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea a day reduced their risk of an intracerebral hemorrhage by 32 percent.

It is not clear what might account for this link between green tea, coffee and strokes. In green tea, research indicates that the catechin compound may have antioxidant anti-inflammation properties. Coffee may benefit from the chlorogenic acid in its brew, which lowers the chance of developing type-2 diabetes.

Lifestyle may also be a factor as well. Green tea drinkers were more likely to exercise than others. In addition, coffee was linked to an elevated risk of coronary artery disease, although that link disappeared once researchers adjusted for smoking.

"This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks," the study's lead author Yoshihiro Kokubo said in a statement. "You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet."

Coffee and tea are the most popular drinks in the world after water.

The study was published in the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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