If you've been trying to lose weight for a while you've probably heard somewhere that green tea is good for you, but what exactly does that mean? How much weight can it help you lose? Why does it help you lose weight? How much should you drink if your main goal is to lose weight?
You can find the answers to all your questions about green tea here:
The term green tea is used to describe teas made specifically from the herb Camellia sinensis. This particular kind of tea has been used as medicine for thousands of years and is one of the most popular drink choices for health conscious people.
How Can Green Tea Improve Your life?
Green tea actually has a huge range of health benefits:
- Green tea has a high level of antioxidants
Green tea contains a high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids, two different types of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help keep your blood and your organs clean and healthy. They do this by fighting free radicals, dangerous cells which attach themselves to your regular cells and cause all sorts of damage. Free radicals contribute to many things we associate with aging as well as a number of diseases.
- Extra minerals
Green tea also has a number of other organic compounds that are good for your health. These are too small to make a big impact unless you're drinking a lot of green tea, but any extra nutrients you can get are good nutrients. Try to stick with the higher quality green teas as these will have somewhat higher mineral ratios and lower quality green teas can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.
- Organic compounds to boost energy levels
The primary active ingredient in green tea is the much loved caffeine. Green tea doesn't contain as much caffeine as coffee, but for most people this is a good thing: it means that green tea can give you the caffeine boost you need without giving you the jitters if you accidentally drink a little bit too much.
Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which increases the activity of GABA, a regulatory neurotransmitter that produces anti-anxiety effects. L-theanine also increases dopamine, one of the hormones associated with happiness.
- Beautiful skin
Epigallocatechin, another compound found in green tea, is far more effective than vitamin E. Regularly drinking green tea can greatly improve your complexion and dramatically reduce acne. The anti-oxidants also help prevent visible signs of aging such as wrinkles.
- Alleviates pain
The reason green tea has been used for so many years in medicine is because the epigallocatechin it contains is an effective anti-inflammatory that can help reduce most forms of pain, including pain caused by arthritis. It's also been proven to help produce the loss of bone density.
- Healthy heart
Drinking three glasses of green tea every day—that's just one with every meal—has been shown to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 16%. The specific amount of caffeine in green tea helps eliminate extra salt in the body and prevents the transformation of low-density lipoprotein into oxidized LDL, the form of cholesterol most likely to cause heart issues.
- Prevents cancer
The epigallocatechin found in green tea prevents the growth of cancerous cells in your body and is particularly effective in preventing stomach cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. Many people believe drinking it immediately after a cancer surgery will help prevent re-occurrence.
- Boosts metabolism
Drinking green tea has been proven to noticeably improve your metabolism. Drinking five 250ML cups of green tea every day can help you burn an extra 90 calories. It might not sound like a lot, but this one change can help you lose ten pounds every single year.
- Appetite suppressant
Caffeine is a mild appetite suppressant, so if you drink lots of green tea you'll be far less tempted to over eat.
- Improves exercise endurance
The catechins in green tea stimulate your muscles to rely on fatty acids. This means your body burns through carbohydrates more slowly so you can get through longer workouts.
- Glucose absorption
Active compounds in green tea help inhibit the movement of glucose in your fat cells, preventing your blood sugar level from spiking and therefore preventing any sharp increases in your insulin level.
- Stress busting
The L-Theanine in green tea does more than just give you extra energy. It also reduces stress and prevents anxiety, keeping your emotions steady so you can be at your best.
Types of Green Tea
There are actually several different flavours and types of green tea to choose from. You can purchase either green tea bags or loose leaf tea. Loose leaf tea is often higher quality and provides a more authentic taste and experience, but it can get messy and frustrating to make all the time.
Flavoured Green Tea
You can purchase green tea in several different flavours including mint, ginger and lemon. Try to stick with caffeine-based tea for maximum calorie burn unless you really can't have caffeine.
Also known as pearl tea, this tea looks like it's made out of little green gunpowder pellets. These pearls unfurl when they hit the water. This type of tea is fresh longest and is great to take to work in a big thermos.
Hyson Green Tea
Most people consider the taste of hyson highly unpleasant, but some people like the strong and pungent taste. You can tell hyson green tea apart because it has thick, yellowish leaves that are typically twisted into long and thin shapes.
Dragonwell has a light taste and is also quite mellow in flavour. This is one of the most popular forms of green tea in China. It appears to be only leaves, but when it hits the water the leaves open to reveal a tiny bud.
Agarwood has the flavour you typically expect when you're getting green tea at a restaurant. Always use whole leaves and avoid the tea made from the wood.
Pi Lo Chun
Pi Lo Chun is a very rare form of green tea that can be distinguished by its little rolled black leaves that actually look like snails. This tea is actually grown in orchards, so it has the flavours of plums, peaches and apricots.
Matcha is just powdered green tea leaves which turn an incredibly bright green when they're put in the water.
A common Japanese green tea, Sencha has a savoury, earthy taste that most people love. Its leaves look like pine needles and have a smooth texture. Even if you're not a big fan of green tea you will probably love this tea.
Hojicha is unique from other types of green tea leaves because it has a nutty flavour. You'll be able to recognize the leaves easily as well because they're large and unrolled.
Green Tea For Weight Loss
Drinking any amount of green tea on a regular basis is good for you but if you want to see the most dramatic improvement to your health you should be drinking a few cups per day. Switching to green tea every time you crave a flavoured beverage will help you shed pounds and feel better throughout your entire day.
Follow the rest of these tips to get the largest possible reward from your green tea habit:
- Either take a large thermos with you or keep bags of green tea and a mug at your desk. You won't have time to properly brew loose leaf tea at work, but drinking tea throughout the day keeps your energy and your metabolism going
- Avoid adding anything to the tea, as cream, milk or sugar will neutralize the fat burning effect
- Start your day with freshly brewed green tea instead of your regular tea with milk or coffee
- Transform your green tea into iced tea during the summer and take it with you everywhere to avoid loading up on sugary drinks
- Drink a cup of warm green tea in the evening to reduce your temptation to overeat
- A small cold glass of green tea immediately before dinner will help fill you up, further reducing your temptation to overeat
- Drink a cup of green tea about an hour after every meal to speed up digestion
- Avoid green tea pills
- Don't pour freshly boiled water onto your green tea; this will reduce some of the health benefits. Instead wait until the water is only slightly hot/very warm before you use it to steep your tea
- Don't over steep. Japanese green tea should only be steeped for two minutes, whereas Chinese green tea should be steeped for 3-5 minutes depending on the tea. If you get your tea from a specialty shop they should be able to tell you the ideal amount of time for each tea.
Getting fit and staying that way requires several long term lifestyle changes, but they don't all have to be tough. Incorporating 3-6 cups of green tea in your daily routine is one of the easiest things you can do to start getting healthy today.