Green tea, taken in a capsule or drunk in a cup, may shave a few points off "bad" cholesterol readings, according to a new study involving more than a thousand people.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, showed that green tea trimmed five to six points more from people's total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels than dummy capsules or other treatments.
The trials tested either green tea itself or capsules containing green-tea compounds called catechins, which are thought to decrease cholesterol absorption in the gut.
Green tea in a cup was more consistently effective than capsules, though the benefits overall were fairly small, noted senior researcher Olivia Phung, of Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
"If someone is already taking medication for their cholesterol, they should stick with it and not try to trade it for green tea, either capsules or the beverage," she said.
But adding green tea to your diet could be one way to further improve cholesterol numbers, she said.
The researchers, however, found no strong evidence that green tea boosted "good" HDL cholesterol, or cut triglycerides, another type of blood fat.
Prof Phung's team pooled the results of 20 clinical trials that involved a total of 1,415 adults.