Chinese herbal green tea has notably become the "supplement of choice" for many seeking greater health and control over their weight. For good reason: not only does it have an interestingly appealing flavor when prepared as tea, science defends some astounding benefits when it's used as a supplement for immune enhancement and fat mobilization.
Other names for Green Tea
Camellia sinensis, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Where to find Green Tea
Green tea, including black and oolong teas, are all derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. This powerful tea's legacy was originally discovered by an emperor some 4,000 years ago. Since that time, traditional Chinese medicine has recommended green tea to relieve bodily aches and pains, aid digestion, fight depression, soothe headaches, enhance immune functioning, detoxify the body, provide "instant" energy, and even promote longevity.
This plant can be made into green, black, or oolong teas. The black and oolong teas are fermented, so the active ingredients may be altered and therefore may not have the same benefits as green tea.
Why athletes use Green Tea
Defending our bodies against daily stress can help us become more productive both at work and in the gym. And, new research has shown green tea may help our bodies burn more calories, faster, which is why it's showing up in more and more fat-loss formulas.
Ways that Green Tea can enhance Fat Loss:
- Increase resting metabolic rate and increase the rate the body burns fat to support weight loss
- Provide "extra" energy and delay fatigue, maximizing performance under stress
Ways that Green Tea can enhance Longevity:
- Help stimulate production of "natural viral-killer" cells to enhance immune functioning
- Potentially guard against heart disease and lower cholesterol and blood pressure
Signs of Green Tea deficiency
No deficiency conditions are known to exist.
Potential uses for Green Tea
Research indicates that Green Tea may be useful in the treatment of:
More about Green Tea
Green tea has quickly become the "supplement of choice" for many seeking greater health and control of their weight. Not only does it have an interestingly appealing flavor (when prepared as tea), it appears to have science defending some astounding benefits for immune enhancement and fat mobilization when it's used as a supplement.
Green tea, or more accurately, the polyphenols in green tea, appears to activate our bodies' "natural viral-killer" immune cells, which scavenge and fight off bacteria and flush out toxins. These all-important polyphenols in green tea also appear to use calories in our bodies as energy and thus may assist our "fat-fighting" efforts.
Soothe stress and fight off free radicals
Active individuals and those who regularly deal with life's stressful events (in today's hectic world, who doesn't?) may be less able to recover from symptoms of stress or to fight off infections. Green tea may just be the answer to help combat and even prevent the negative effects of stress, such as fatigue, irritability, and anxiousness.
You see, green tea is a powerful antioxidant, which basically means it may protect our bodies from the free radicals that damage cells and weaken our immune systems. Of course, this is important for active people as well because intense exercise has actually been shown to increase free radicals in our bodies, and if free radicals are running amuck, it's more difficult to recover.
Supplement your way to a slimmer physique?
What may be even more interesting to some is that green tea appears to be able to help our bodies burn more calories, faster. A recent study in Geneva showed that green tea is naturally packed with caffeine and compounds called "catechin polyphenols." This is of significant interest to those of us trying to reduce our weight because both of these substances have been documented to speed up resting metabolic rate — or more simply stated, rev up our bodies' calorie-burning potential. You see, the caffeine found in green tea allows our bodies to use bodyfat for energy (that is, it's "lipolytic"). When stored calories are used for short-term energy, our bodies burn more fat.
In fact, this study, performed on healthy men, showed green tea alone produced a four percent increase in energy burned, over a placebo, for an extended period of time. The researchers concluded that green tea may be useful for speeding up fat burning and promoting our bodies' ability to burn more calories over an extended period of time.
More good news
Green tea originally gained recognition as a potential cancer fighter, especially of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon. It is also believed to be beneficial for fighting lung and breast cancers.
In addition, drinking green tea after meals has been shown to help fight the bacteria that cause dental plaque.
What's more, green tea demonstrates heart-healthy properties — and may even protect against cardiovascular disease. This is because it may improve the ratio of LDL "good" cholesterol to HDL "bad" cholesterol, helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as a result.
Green tea's long history of success in regard to its potential cancer-fighting, immune-enhancing, and heart-healthy properties continue to gain attention from researchers, doctors, the media, and people from all walks of life. Because of our society's increasing awareness of cancer-causing agents in our environments and our need to protect ourselves, along with our desire to continually ward off unwanted bodyfat, we will likely hear more about the potential nutritional benefits of adding green tea to our diets.
- As a supplement: Green tea is available in tablets and capsules and is most commonly found in thermogenic formulas for weight loss. Most research suggests taking 300 to 600 mg per day of green tea, which should contain up to 97% polyphenol concentrate. (This would be equal to drinking four cups of tea per day.)
- As a tea: The average amount of green tea consumed in Asia is approximately three to four cups per day; thus, that's the amount typically consumed for beneficial effects. To brew the tea, combine one teaspoon of tea leaves with one cup of boiling water, let steep for three minutes, and drink.
- As a topical: The wet green tea leaves can be directly applied to sunburned skin as needed for pain relief.
When choosing a green tea, it is best to look for the measurement of polyphenols, which are believed to be responsible for green tea's benefits. Three cups of tea per day should provide around 240 to 300 mg of the polyphenols.
When tea is consumed with or right before meals, it is believed to inhibit the formation of cancer-causing agents. Consequently, the custom of drinking green tea with meals in Japan has been suggested to be the main reason for their low cancer rates.
Synergists of Green Tea
Combining green tea with ephedra and/or Citrus aurantium may increase their overall thermogenic or calorie-burning effects, which explains why they're often found together in weight-loss formulas.
Toxicity of Green Tea
None known. But, as with all caffeine-containing supplements, one should try not to consume too much before bedtime, as it might interfere with your ability to sleep.
Bans and restrictions
- Benzie, I.F., et al., "Consumption of Green Tea Causes Rapid Increase in Plasma Antioxidant Power in Humans," Nutr Cancer 34.1 (1999) : 83-7.
- Dulloo, A.G., et al., "Efficacy of a Green Tea Extract Rich in Catechin Polyphenols and Caffeine in Increasing 24-h Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Humans," Amer J Clin Nutr 70.6 (1999) : 1040-5.
- Dulloo, A.G., et al., "Green Tea and Thermogenesis: Interactions Between Catechin-Polyphenols, Caffeine and Sympathetic Activity," Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 24.2 (2000) : 252-8.
- Imai, K., and Nakachi, K., "Cross Sectional Study of Effects of Drinking Green Tea on Cardiovascular and Liver Diseases (see comments)," BMJ 310.6981 (1995) : 693-6.
- Serafini, M., et al., "In Vivo Antioxidant Effect of Green Tea in Man," Eur J Clin Nutr 50.1 (1996) : 28-32.
- You, S.Q., "Study on Feasibility of Chinese Green Tea Polyphenols (CTP) for Preventing Dental Caries," Chung Hau Kou Chiang Hsueh Tsa Chin 28.4 (1993) : 197-9.