What is Green Tea?
Green tea, also known as Chinese tea, has been grown across Asia for over 5000 years. Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant that black tea and oolong tea comes from.
Green tea leaves are harvested at a young age and is consumed fresh while black tea is consumed roasted. Green tea is thus less processed and retains more of its nutrients and antioxidants than black tea.
What is so special about Green Tea?
The healthful benefits of green tea are largely attributed to their unfermented leaves and their high concentration of polyphenols, chemicals with powerful antioxidant properties. The polyphenols found in teas are classified as catechins. Green tea has six primary catechin compounds. The catechin of most interest is apigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG).
EGCG is the most active and most studied compound in green tea. EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant and is believed to be responsible for most of the benefits that green tea has to offer. Other constituents in Green tea are caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, which give green tea its stimulant effect.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
Over the years green tea has been extensively researched. It is common knowledge that green tea is a great antioxidant but you may not know that green tea is a fabulous aid for weight loss too.
Studies have shown:
Green tea can significantly reduce body weight, maintain lean muscle mass, and decrease both waist circumference and body mass index (1, 2) in all age groups including the elderly.
Green tea significantly decreases serum glucose and total cholesterol levels (3) proving it is excellent for those with diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol.
Green tea has an anti obesity effect, preventing rebound weight gain after initial weight loss. (4)
Green tea increases thermogenesis (fat burning) and reduces fat absorption. (5)
Green tea has shown to reduce leptin. Leptin is the hormone from white adipose or fat tissue that regulates weight gain. (6)
Some sceptics say that the caffeine content in green tea is the reason behind its ability to assist with weight loss but current research has discovered that the high levels EGCG is the main reason behind green teas ability to help shed weight and that the caffeine component of green tea works synergistically with the EGCG to increase metabolism.
There are more benefits from using Green Tea
Green tea is a well-known antioxidant, helping to protect against chronic diseases.
Green tea is great for heart health, lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol and has also been seen to inhibit blood clot formation.
Green tea improves mental alertness; this is most likely due to the caffeine content.
Green tea appears to have antiviral and anti bacterial properties, making it useful for treating infections such as influenza and the common cold. There have been some preliminary studies suggesting green tea may be helpful in treating HIV and Helicobacter Pylori but further research is needed.
When not to take Green Tea
Green tea is rich in vitamin K and may interfere with blood thinning medications.
If you are drinking Green tea it is best to drink it at least 1hour away from medications as the tannin content of green tea may affect the absorption of medications, this also includes vitamins and minerals.
Green tea contains caffeine and excessive consumption may cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability or an upset stomach in some people.
Those on diuretics and benzodiazepines should be careful as green tea can interact with these drugs.
How should you take Green Tea?
Drinking cups of green tea is beneficial, but most of the research carried out to date is based on concentrated preparations of the herb usually in a tablet or capsule form. For therapeutic purposes the minimum recommended dose is 240 to 300mg daily of EGCG, which is equivalent to approximately 10 to 15g of dry leaf.
What dosages of Green tea do I suggest?
I recommend the Fusion brand of Green Tea tablets. Each tablet has 184mg of EGCG. Recommend dosage is 1 tablet per day for general well being or 2 tablets per day for weight loss. Green Tea tablets are best taken after a meal. Remember, these tablets contain a small amount of caffeine so if you are sensitive to caffeine do not take them too late in the day.
So if you are looking to shed a few kilos why not indulge in a hot cuppa today or even better invest in a green tea supplement, not only will you be revving up your metabolism you will be protecting your body against disease.
Written by Lea McIntyre - Naturopath - ND BHSc
Lea has had many years of professional experience as a naturopath working with her patients and clients both in her clinic and as a senior retail naturopathic adviser. When Lea is not helping people stay well and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, she is busy caring for and nurturing her two young children.
1. J Med Food. 2013 Feb;16(2):120-7. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0062. Epub 2012 Nov 9.The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women. Cardoso GA, Salgado JM, Cesar Mde C, Donado-Pestana CM.
2. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012;16(9):738-42. doi: 10.1007/s12603-012-0081-5.Effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) consumption on the components of metabolic syndrome in elderly. Vieira Senger AE, Schwanke CH, Gomes I, Valle Gottlieb MG.
3. Saudi Med J. 2012 Feb;33(2):128-33.Effect of green tea extract on body weight, serum glucose and lipid profile in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. A dose response study Haidari F, Shahi MM, Zarei M, Rafiei H, Omidian K.
4. Br J Nutr. 2012 Mar;107(5):749-54. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005095. Epub 2011 Oct 28. Beneficial effects of catechin-rich green tea and inulin on the body composition of overweight adults. Yang HY, Yang SC, Chao JC, Chen JR.
5. Br J Nutr. 2011 Nov;106(9):1297-309. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511003849. Epub 2011 Aug 3.The putative effects of green tea on body fat: an evaluation of the evidence and a review of the potential mechanisms. Thavanesan N.
6. Pak Jnl Biol Sci.2009. Green tea lowers leptin Al-Sowyan NS
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