Pick up your teacup
Wherever you look, tea has been eclipsed in popularity by its rougher and bolder cousin, coffee. Tea shops are small, ornate affairs, while coffee shops seem to multiply overnight in every city. Sure, you can get tea in most coffee shops, but it’s only one item on an ever-expanding menu full of coffee bean choices and varieties.
This isn’t true in all cultures, of course. The British still love their tea and crumpets, and few things seem more Chinese than green tea in small, handle-less porcelain cups. Most people are aware that tea, especially green tea, comes loaded with wellness benefits—those leaves pack a healthy punch.
A Healthy Drink
In China and Japan, people have been drinking green tea for over four thousand years. Not only is this healthy drink ingrained in the culture, it’s also one of the traditional resources for curing ailments. Green tea has been called upon to fix headaches and stomachaches, ease depression, bring down fevers, and control bleeding, among a vast array of other uses.
Recently, scientists and doctors have concluded that green tea lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It also reduces your risk of heart disease, and can inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce joint pain and may also reduce allergy-related swelling.
A few cups of this healthy drink each day is virtually guaranteed to keep your body healthier and happier.
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Green Tea for Weight Loss
New research on green tea is revealing health benefits that go above and beyond keeping your body running smoothly—now, it is believed to help with weight loss as well.
A study from 1999 demonstrated that men who were given a compound of caffeine and green tea burned more calories than those who were given only caffeine or a placebo.
A 12-week trial involving dietary intervention—three meals per day were prepared for the participants, all of whom were obese—showed startling weight loss results for those also consuming green tea. A similar trial with no changes in diet did not show significant weight loss, but did demonstrate positive changes for cholesterol.
Many studies also reveal a trend of green tea reducing waist measurements. 90 days of green tea, without altering exercise or eating habits, took approximately ¾-inch off one test’s volunteers; a study of obese children found similar waist circumference results.
It’s good to be green
Other teas, like the more common black varieties, also have perks for your health. But only green tea has been shown to offer weight loss results. Green tea leaves are steamed as opposed to fermented, which keeps all the antioxidants in.
The important antioxidants in green tea are called catechins. These are prevalent in many fruits and vegetables as well, but their quantities are highest in tea. These catechins boost your metabolic rate and increase your energy expenditure and fat oxidation—in essence, they make your body work harder with what it’s got.
Beyond enticing your body to be more productive, the catechins also directly dissolve fat in the blood before it gets stored. Weight loss aided by green tea is most notable around the stomach, which is precisely where most people would like it. This accounts for the reduction in waist circumference that is often reported.
But I’m not a drinker…
With the rising popularity of this healthy drink, it comes as little surprise that there are more ways to get it than ever before. If you aren’t a fan of the taste, there are extracts available that provide the catechins found in the tea, just without the liquid.
One concern with green tea extract is its reliability. Research has not yet discovered all the ways the compounds in tea cooperate with each other to function; it is possible that some of what is removed to make the extract is needed to achieve the full effect of green tea. This isn’t to say that extracts don’t work. Many are paired with caffeine, which has been shown to positively interact with the catechins to provide results.
Before you sip
As with any new dietary addition, moderation is key. Extracts are particularly easy to overdo; while green tea has benefits, you don’t want to over-saturate your body with catechins and antioxidants. They could cause harm to your liver if the quantity is too great, so it’s important to carefully follow recommendations and guidelines for consumption. Remember: more isn’t always better.
Green tea is a caffeinated beverage, so when consuming larger amounts, you are also putting a stimulant in your body. Some people thrive on low doses of caffeine but get jittery with too much; others don’t react well at all. Be aware of the amount you’re ingesting, and how it relates to your body’s accustomed levels.
A tale of two teas
Whether you choose to follow the examples of the East and start sipping to a more slender physique, or you opt for encapsulated antioxidants (a healthy tongue-twister), adding green tea to your diet is a healthy drink in the right direction. You’ll be helping your heart, your joints, your blood—and your figure.
This article Green Tea Time – The Weight Loss Benefits of this Healthy Drink was originally published at Lean On Life and has been re-published with permission.