Want to lose weight? You need to follow a good workout and nutrition plan. Want to further enhance your chances? In that case, you might want to think about adding green tea to your day.
Turn over any of your supplement bottles to the nutrition facts. What do you find? You will often find green tea extract.
The reason is because green tea, the drink, and the extract, is so beneficial for your body. Weight loss is one of the key benefits that really stand out to those looking to more efficiently burn fat and drop a few extra pounds.
But, what exactly is green tea?
Is green tea right for you?
How much should you consume?
We get into all the info you will ever want to know about green tea to help you decide.
This Is The Medicinal History Of Green Tea
Green tea is made from the leaves of the Chinese tea tree Camellia sinensis. Historically, it has been considered a medicinal drink because people believed it had health restoring properties. Therefore, it has been used as a medication and to improve health since ancient times.
Today, green tea is advertised as a supplement or drink that improves overall health by helping to prevent heart disease and even cancer, as well as to treat diarrhea, decrease periodontal disease and to promote weight loss.
Sounds like a pretty useful drink, doesn’t it?
Green Tea And Weight Loss
Don’t drop your gym membership!
Just drinking a couple of cups of green tea every day is not going to get you back in your high school-sized jeans. With that being said, it could help you shed that couple of extra stubborn pounds. Plus, it complements the healthy lifestyle that we know you try to lead every day.
So, how does it work?
Among other healthy properties, green tea contains the following:
- Polyphenols including: Catechins, phenolic acids, tannins and flavonols
- Caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants
- Vitamin C and vitamin B
WebMD says, “Teas have a type of flavonoid called catechins that may boost metabolism and help your body break down fats more quickly. And the caffeine in many teas increases your energy use, causing your body to burn more calories.”
Caffeine should be pretty familiar to all of us. As a nation, we seem to be addicted to it. It is a stimulant that in study after study has shown to be a beneficial fat burner. With an increased metabolism and increased energy at the same time, you now have a recipe for weight loss.
Notice that WebMD said “teas.” It is true that all teas have these great capabilities, but there is something else that makes green tea more potent. Of all the teas, no others have the same potent amounts of catechins called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, that green tea has.
This Is The Skinny On EGCG
Researchers believe that EGCG may turn down the hormone that controls your hunger. So, you do not feel as hungry after consuming green tea.
Let’s break down what happens to make it easy to understand. Substances in green tea actually increase hormone levels that give your fat cells the go ahead to break down fat. The fat is then released to the bloodstream. This makes it a readily available source of energy.
EGCG has also been studied as a pre and post workout fat burner. It has been found especially effective when combined with exercise. The Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry published a study on EGCG that tested its fat burning properties when consumed before interval sprinting exercises on both trained and untrained men. They found that “green tea significantly increased resting and post-exercise fat oxidation.”
It’s nice to know that green tea benefits has lasting effects that work both during interval sprinting and afterward while your body is at rest. If you really want to ramp up your fat burning ability, look for green tea in your pre-workout supplements and consume it post-workout.
Green Tea Tightens Your Tummy
In a 2009 study, researchers looked at results from various trials to see how green tea effected fat distribution and body composition in adults who were considered to be obese and overweight as they went through a period of exercise-induced weight loss. They found that subjects who consumed green tea had a decrease in their waist size and also lost more weight than participants who were only given caffeine.
This shows that green tea has more to offer than just caffeine as a fat burner. It is enhanced by its other properties to increase the burn. If you are looking to trim your waistline, go with the green tea.
How Can You Get More Green Tea Into Your Diet?
We have mentioned that your supplements may contain green tea. With that said, not all of them do. So what if you do not use supplements with green tea extract or just want to consume more throughout the day? Rest easy.
We have thought of many more ways to get your daily dose of green tea in.
Swap out your morning cup of Joe. That’s right! We said it. Trade in your coffee. Instead, have a green tea in the morning.
It is lower in caffeine. You are less likely to add a bunch of creamer and other additional calories, and it has the added bonus of weight loss. Oprah Winfrey did this when she was on one of her many weight loss journeys years ago, and she swore by it!
Learn a new skill. Learning can be so much fun and it is obviously very rewarding. Better yourself by learning the art of actually brewing quality green tea. In time, you may find that you become a green tea connoisseur. Surely you will impress at least a few of your friends.
Speaking of which, you should invite your friends over to enjoy a cup with you. The first time you brew green tea for your friends and share the health, it will be a great conversational piece.
Pack green tea and take it to work. Make your green tea ahead of time and drink it instead of buying a soda from the vending machine. You will save money and lose weight. Nix that soda, too!
Make green tea smoothies. Tasty and creamy smoothies can really hit the spot. Find a recipe that includes green tea for the added health benefits.
Buy green tea K-Cups for your single brewer. Even if you do not have a Keurig or something like it, you have no doubt seen them at work or at the doctor’s office. There’s a reason. They are good and convenient. You can make an individual cup any time in seconds, even before bed if it is decaf. Of course, a true connoisseur would likely hate this idea since green tea should not boil to brew it, and the Keurig will boil it.
Cook with green tea. Believe it or not, cooking with green tea is a real thing. Dinner dishes, desserts, cookies, and anything you can imagine can incorporate green tea. You can find tons of recipes online that include it and matcha. Google it. We dare you!
Stop at Starbucks!
Their green tea is the bomb! It’s smooth and minty and so refreshing. Just make sure that you order it un-sweet. If you suck in a bunch of sugar, you will not be losing weight. Keep in mind also that a Starbucks habit can get pricey!
Buy green tea extract. Yes, you really can just buy the pure extract in liquid or pill form and take it as part of your daily vitamin routine. All of your local supplement shops and grocery stores will carry it, or you can buy it online.
Green Tea Extract vs. Brewing A Cup
First, you must know yourself. Do you even like drinking green tea?
Have you ever had the real thing (not the bottled sweetened concoctions that claim to be green tea)? What if you find out that you truly do not enjoy drinking green tea? No fear.
You are going to get the same benefits from drinking it as you would if you take its supplement form. The only real difference when you use a supplement, a ground version, pill form, liquid form or anything besides steeping the leaves, is the dosage that you are ingesting. What you will find is that the dosage is higher when you are not drinking it.
You won’t have to figure out the dosage on your own. The packaging will give its recommended daily dose and may even offer ways to use it. For example, if it is in powder form, you could add it to your protein shakes.
Can You Drink Too Much?
Studies have shown that you can drink as few as 2.5 cups to reap some of the weight loss benefits that green tea has to offer. This begs the question: Is there such a thing as drinking too much green tea?
Green tea is caffeinated. Drinking too much caffeine can keep you up at night and raise your heart rate. For some people, it could even lead to an increase in anxiety levels. The FDA states that 400 mg is a safe amount for daily caffeine consumption. There are only about 25 milligrams per cup of green tea, so that would be 16 cups. With that kind of figure, chances are you will not over-consume green tea on any given day.
With all of that said, five or six cups per day would be sufficient. There is no need for more. And, in case you are wondering, there are no additional benefits to downing 16 cups. Stick with at most five or six cups a day and try to drink it all before dinner. You will get all the perks and be able to sleep at night.
Best Types Of Green Tea
Ready to add green tea to your day?
What follows is a list of the best sources of green tea:
Supplements – This one is a given. There are many companies that offer green tea extract as a supplement. Do your research. Read reviews. If you do that, you are sure to find a good green tea extract option that will meet your needs without breaking the bank.
Matcha – Matcha is a finely ground powder made from uniquely grown and processed green tea leaves. Just one serving of matcha tea is equal to 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea and it is packed with additional caffeine and even more antioxidants than any of the other superfoods.
How To Brew Green Tea
Why not order some quality green tea and learn to properly make it yourself? Believe it or not, it really is not hard.
If you truly want to brew the best tasting cup of green tea and avoid scorching it, please follow these simple instructions. Use two teaspoons of green tea per cup of water. Don’t quite boil the water. Just look for the smallest bubbles at the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat off at that point. Then steep your leaves in the almost boiling water for 15 seconds. Last, enjoy your tea and all the weight loss benefits that come with it.
Go green! Time and time again in countless of research studies, green tea has been shown to be an effective fat burner, especially when it is combined with exercise. All you have to do is make sure to make it’s a staple in your daily regimen. Green tea should help you stay healthy and shed those extra pounds that you’ve been looking to lose.
By Sarah Chadwell, CPT