In May 2006, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine weighed in on the issue with a review article that looked at more than too studies on the health benefits of green tea.
They pointed to what they called an "Asian paradox," which refers to lower rates of heart disease and cancer in Asia despite high rates of cigarette smoking.
They theorized that the 1.2 litres of green tea that is consumed by many Asians each day provides high levels of polyphenols and other antioxidants.
These compounds may work in several ways to improve cardiovascular health.
Specifically, green tea may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" type), which, in turn, can reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries, the researchers wrote.