Anyone who has looked into herbs and teas for health problems may have stumbled across green tea at one point or another. Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis family, the same family as black and oolong tea. The only difference is how the teas are processed. Green tea originated in China where it has been used for hundreds of years and touted for its health benefits.
Clinical studies have backed up many of the health benefit claims including a study showing that green tea does in fact increase weight loss. While it is not the end all for weight loss, adding green tea to your diet can aid in reducing weight and can be incorporated into most diets.
Green Tea Weight Loss Studies
According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
"Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se. The green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis,fat oxidation, or both."
In layman's term, the above study's conclusion is saying green tea can help you lose weight and caffeine is only part of the story. While caffeine can speed up the metabolism and green tea has about half the caffeine of coffee, researchers now believe that the catechin polyphenols, mainly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is the trigger mechanism for the health benefits. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant that makes up a large part of green tea leaves and works on the body in preventing cancer and other conditions as well as weight loss.
Other studies have added weight to the benefits of green tea and shown that weight loss is possible from drinking a couple cups of green tea daily or incorporating a green tea extract. Even so, green tea is not the end all for weight control. It still takes exercise and a more balanced diet to create lasting body change. Green tea merely helps increase the body's ability to burn weight during these other activities.
Green Tea and Your Diet
Green tea and green tea extracts can both contribute positively to your health and can be added to a diet easily. However, green tea as a drink is believed by many more beneficial than extracts. When I say green tea, however, I do not mean refrigerated drinks labeled green tea that are available in your local grocery store. While the drinks may be better than nothing most of the benefits are minimized due to processing and refrigeration. What you really need is tea you brew yourself from tea packets.
The amount of green tea to drink a day is subject to debate, but effects can be seen after as little as one or two cups. Others have recommended that you drink up to ten cups daily to see maximum results. One or two cups a day can easily be introduced into your routine by replacing coffee with green tea. Instead of bringing a thermos of coffee to work, bring a thermos of green tea. Green tea has about half the caffeine of coffee without the side effects.It also goes well with meals.
Taking a green tea extract will give you a concentrated dose of ECGC and health benefits but drinking and brewing green tea offers the added benefit of being more filling than a supplement pill. Tea takes more time and can be used if you're changing a diet to try and help yourself cut back on the amount of food you eat.
Whether a cup of hot tea or taking an extract capsule or tablet, the health benefits of green tea have been proven. The aid in losing weight coupled with the added health benefits make it a wonderful addition to any diet program you may be following.
Other Health Benefits of Green Tea
Here is a short but not all-inclusive list of many health benefits people have seen from drinking green tea or extracts:
• Increased metabolism
• Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
• Reduced risk of various forms of cancer
• Improved ability to fight infection
• May help prevent bad breath