The antioxidant activity of green tea (GT) has been extensively studied; however, the results obtained from dietary intervention studies are controversial. In the present study we investigated the effect of the addition of two cups of GT (containing approximately 250 mg of total catechins) to a controlled diet in a group of healthy volunteers with respect to a group following the same controlled diet but not consuming GT. Antioxidant status and lipid profile in plasma, the resistance from oxidative damage to lipid and DNA, and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPX) in isolated lymphocytes were measured at the beginning and the end of the trial. After 42 days, consumption of GT caused a significant increase in plasma total antioxidant activity [from 1.79 to 1.98 micromol Trolox equivalent (TE)/ml, P<.001], significant decreases in plasma peroxides level (from 412 to 288 Carr U, P<.05) and induced DNA oxidative damage in lymphocytes (from 14.2% to 10.1% of DNA in tail, P<.05), a moderate although significant decrease in LDL cholesterol (from 119.9 to 106.6 mg/dL, P<.05) with respect to control. The present study suggests the ability of GT, consumed within a balanced controlled diet, to improve overall the antioxidative status and to protect against oxidative damage in humans.