Along with being delicious, green tea is internationally renowned as one of the healthiest beverages to consume.
Brewing and drinking a hot cup of Green tea activates beneficial substances contained in the leaves and triggers specific biological effects that lead to enhanced health.
These benefits can also be derived from taking Green tea extract in supplement form.
As a potent source of antioxidants (catechins) and a compound known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the biggest reasons for Green tea’s rising popularity is the fact that it helps people lose weight by increasing the metabolism.
Green tea is also a rich source of caffeine, which is a well-known metabolic enhancer.
While the caffeine content in coffee overshadows the caffeine content in Green tea by a very wide margin (100-200 mg vs. 24-40 mg), the tea contains enough of the stimulant to enhance resting metabolism. This helps the body to burn more fat and boosts performance during exercise.
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Benefits of Green Tea
There are several powerful weight loss benefits that can be derived from drinking Green tea on a regular basis.
- It Mobilizes Fat Cells
Fat loss depends on the body’s ability to process stored fat and move it into the bloodstream where it can be used as energy. Green tea contains potent compounds that boost key fat burning hormones to facilitate this process.
Norepinephrine is a hormone that signals fat cells throughout the body to breakdown and release stored lipids. The antioxidant in Green tea (known as EGCG) helps to stop the production of an enzyme that limits the action of norepinephrine.
As a result, there is an increase in norepinephrine which increases the breakdown and utilization of fat in the body.
Green tea’s caffeine content works with EGCG to increase metabolism and make even more fat available for delivery to the cells and muscles of the body to be used up as energy.
- It Burns More Fat During Exercise
The ability of Green tea to enhance the fat burning potential of exercise is the reason why it is a key ingredient in many fat burning supplements.
In fact, studies show that men who supplement with Green tea extract burn approximately seventeen percent more body fat during exercise than men who do not take any.
Yet another study revealed that the metabolism-boosting effects that Green tea has on exercise lasts long after the workout is complete, leading to the long-term results of a higher metabolism and lower body fat levels.
- It Boosts Resting Metabolism
Studies show that Green tea has the ability to increase the resting metabolism by between three and eight percent.
This means that someone who needs to consume 2000 thousand calories a day to maintain their body weight can burn an extra 60-80 calories each day without doing any additional activity (similar to eating a high protein diet).
Additional studies suggest that the increase in resting metabolism continues even after subjects stop drinking Green tea. However, these studies also suggest that results may depend largely on individual metabolism.
- It Reduces the Appetite
There are no studies that provide concrete evidence to suggest that drinking Green tea reduces the appetite, which would in turn lower calorie intake and result in weight loss.
Studies that examined the influence of drinking Green tea on appetite suppression revealed that while the beverage does increase the rate of calorie burn, it has little to no impact on the amount of food consumed by subjects during the day.
Meanwhile other studies performed on animals theorize that drinking Green tea can limit the amount of fat that is absorbed from the diet.
- It Decreases Abdominal Fat
While the amount of scale weight lost while drinking Green tea is typically low to nonexistent, it is important to determine whether any excess fat was lost, and which parts of the body it came from.
This is due to the fact that there are two major fat storage patterns in the body:
- Subcutaneous: – Fat that lies just under the skin.
- Visceral: – Internal fat that is marbled throughout and around internal organs.
When it comes to health, visceral fat is the one to pay attention to, as having too much of this type leads to problems such as inflammation, insulin resistance, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that Green tea has a powerful effect on the percentage of visceral fat lost as well as the rate of fat oxidation in the body, particularly when combined with diet and exercise.
However, the results obtained in the study required subjects to drink between six and seven cups of Green tea each day.
As a result, experts recommend losing dangerous internal body fat with a combination of diet, exercise and consuming Green tea extract on a regular basis.
How Much Green Tea for Weight Loss?
While there is no scientific proof to support the theory, experts believe that drinking between two and three cups of Green tea per day is the optimal amount for receiving maximum weight loss benefits without overconsuming caffeine.
However, it is important to consume Green tea at the right time. Recommendations include drinking tea in the morning as a coffee substitute, once again in the afternoon as an appetite suppressant and once again before the last meal of the day.
How to Prepare Green Tea for Weight Loss
Use the following instructions to prepare green tea using three different methods:
- Green Teabags
Prepare a cup of green tea by brewing a premade teabag or tea leaves.
Items needed: –
- Green teabags, leaves or pearls
- Hot water
- Four or five basil leaves
- Lemon juice
- Determine the amount of teabags, leaves or pearls needed to brew the necessary amount of tea (one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water).
- Place the predetermined amount of tea leaves or pearls into a sieve or tea strainer.
- Heat water to approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit using a glass or stainless steel pot, keeping a close watch on the water to ensure that it does not boil.
- Put the tea sieve or strainer into an insulated mug or cup before pouring hot water over it.
- To prevent a bitter taste, do not steep the tea for more than two to three minutes before removing the strainer or sieve.
- Have the tea when it cools to a suitable drinking temperature (but consume while still hot).
- Powdered Green Tea
Prepare a cup of Green Tea by using it in powdered form.
Items needed: –
- Half a tablespoon Green tea powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Half of a lemon
- Depending on the desired final quantity of tea, add one, two, three or more servings of powdered Green tea to the corresponding amount of water.
- In a stainless steel or glass pot, boil the water until the Green tea powder sinks to the bottom.
- Pour the brewed tea into an insulated cup or mug using a strainer to separate the powder from the liquid.
- Add lemon and honey to taste before drinking.
- Ginger Green Tea
Prepare a cup of ginger Green tea by combining Green tea leaves with ginger root.
Items needed: –
- 1 teaspoon of Green tea leaves per cup of water
- Fresh ginger root or dry ginger powder
- Decide how much tea is needed and add the corresponding amount of Green tea leaves and ginger to a tea sieve or strainer.
- Heat water in a glass or stainless steel pot to approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit (but not boiling).
- Add the tea sieve or strainer to an insulated cup or mug before pouring hot water over it.
- Prevent a bitter taste by not steeping tea leaves for more than two to three minutes before removing the sieve or strainer.
- Consume the tea once it cools to a drinkable temperature.
Question and Answers
The following are a few common frequently asked questions about Green tea.
- Do flavored Green teas provide the same benefits as unflavored ones?
According to experts, adding flavors to Green tea such as cranberry and pomegranate do not change or reduce the level of benefits received from drinking the tea.
Despite this fact, adding sugar to Green tea increases its calorie count, which can decrease the total health benefits.
Recommendations include drinking sugar-free Green tea such as Numi’s Jasmine Green Tea without adding any sugar before consumption.
- When it comes to Green tea is brand important?
Experts agree that the brand of Green tea consumed does in fact make a difference to the amount of benefits received from the product.
This comes down to the way the different brands process and prepare their Green tea formulations and the quality of the leaves themselves.
Recommendations include sticking to ingredients that are all natural and avoiding brands that include sugar and other unnecessary ingredients such as preservatives.
Note: Despite its benefits, Green tea is not a potent source of vitamins or minerals.
- Can Green tea be iced?
Iced Green tea offers many of the same benefits as drinking Green tea brewed hot.
However, for weight loss, the benefits of drinking Green tea are enhanced by consuming the liquid while it is still hot.
In addition, the extra water required for an iced Green tea preparation dilutes beneficial compounds, which can lower the effectiveness of the tea.
- Can green tea expire?
While Green tea will not spoil, it will definitely lose its antioxidant potency over time.
Experts recommend using the freshest source of Green tea available and using up supplies of Green tea within six months of purchase.
- Will a Green tea extract work if I do not want to drink tea?
Experts agree that drinking a Green tea extract (approximately 1 ml) added to water offers the same antioxidant rich benefits as drinking Green tea (eight to ten cups) in a much more convenient way.
Side Effects of Green Tea
While Green tea is known for its health boosting effects, there are several lesser known side effects that can result from drinking the tea on a regular basis.
- Caffeine Related Symptoms
When you think of a beverage with a high caffeine content coffee is the first thing that comes to mind. However, Green tea is also a potent source of caffeine when it is consumed in large quantities of between three to five servings each day.
Side effects associated with excessive caffeine intake include diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach, frequent urination and other serious health problems.
- Potential Miscarriage
Women who are expecting or are breastfeeding a child should be very cautious with their consumption of Green tea.
This is because of the potential negative and life-threatening side effects that include an increased risk of having a miscarriage as well as increasing the caffeine content of breast milk in women who are lactating. This is dangerous because substances in mother’s milk are easily transferred to babies through breast feeding.
To prevent these problems, experts recommend limiting Green tea consumption to two or less cups per day while pregnant or avoiding it completely in most cases.
- Negative Medicinal Interactions
The polyphenol content of Green tea has a negative effect on a cancer treatment medication called Bortezomib, blocking the active compounds that make it effective.
This is extremely ironic considering the fact that Green tea (sometimes called the “miracle herb”) is known for its anti-cancer healing properties.
- Increased Toxicity
Used under normal circumstances, Green tea is perfectly safe for human consumption. However, despite only being conducted on animals, studies reveal the possibility of Green tea increasing the toxic load of the liver, renal and gastrointestinal tissues of the body when taken while fasting.
There is a common misconception that a nutrient deficiency resulting from not eating solid foods can be avoided by drinking Green tea during a fast. However the assumption is that doing so would have a similar effect on human beings as it did in the animals in the study.
- Iron Deficiency
The compounds contained in Green tea, which are known as tannins prevent the body from absorbing iron from food. This makes overconsumption of Green tea a possible precursor to developing an iron deficiency.
Specific compounds in Green tea can lead to large amounts of calcium being excreted during urination, which can lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis.
Due to this potential and dangerous side effect, experts recommend supplementing with calcium and limiting intake of Green tea each day to safeguard against the development of osteoporosis.
Other Types of Benefical Teas
Along with the Green tea variety, the following are several other types of tea that are highly beneficial for weight loss.
- Oolong Tea
One of the most outstanding features of Oolong tea is its ability to lower cholesterol and burn fat, which help to reduce the risk of obesity.
Also known as the “black dragon”, Oolong is a Chinese tea noted for boosting metabolism dramatically. A study conducted by the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine revealed that the catechins in Oolong tea assist the body with processing fat stores (lipids), which leads to weight loss.
In fact, during the six weeks that the study was carried out each participant lost an average of one pound each week for a total of six pounds lost.
A light tea with floral notes, popular brands of Oolong tea include Stash and Bigelow.
- Pu-erh Tea
Along with being known for its earthy and mellow flavor profile, Pu-erh tea is praised for its ability to increase the metabolism and the rate of fat and weight loss in the body.
The secret to losing weight with Pu-erh tea lies in drinking it at the right times. When taken correctly (which is one hour after eating a meal), individuals can lose a significant amount of weight. However, if taken incorrectly (before meals), weight gain is usually the result because of an increased appetite and increased fat retention.
Pu-erh tea works by assisting the body with removing excess fat and grease, which can be difficult to digest completely. To help this process along and notice the biggest changes in weight loss, it is best to consume Pu-erh tea alone, forgoing other beverages until the desired weight is lost.
- White Tea
Noted as one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, White tea contains above average levels of polyphenols when compared to other types of tea. This is due to the fact that it is minimally processed, using only natural sunlight to dry the leaves.
White tea provides double the benefits of most weight loss teas because of the effect is has on fat cells throughout the human body. Studies show that it not only prevents the formation of new fat cells (adipogenesis), but it also increases the rate at which existing fat cells are broken down (lipolysis).
Popular commercial white tea brands include ‘Sleepytime’ by Celestial Seasonings, Twinings and The Republic of Tea.
- Rooibos Tea
Close to Cape Town and grown exclusively in the South African region known as Cederberg, Rooibos tea has many potent health benefits which include the regulation of key hormones that affect fat storage.
The “red bush” plant that Rooibos tea comes from is a rich source of the flavonoid known as Aspalathin. Drinking this tea on a regular basis cuts down the effects of stress hormones that lead to issues such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.