I have been a health and fitness professional and enthusiast for a number of years and I have been a big fan of green tea for most of that time.
However, I was quite surprised when I spoke to an Asian lady who firmly believed that green tea was responsible for the good health of pretty much all of the Japanese people!
In my opinion, this lady was an excellent person to promote the habit of drinking green tea! The Japanese are known for their lower rates of heart disease in comparison to those in the west. This lady told me of recent studies which found that green tea has very high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.
It lowers cholesterol levels, thins the blood and protects the body against cancer. This lady was a very fit and active lady who told me she was 99 years old.
Further research has shown that green tea has many benefits, although it doesn’t work miracles. It can’t make you 10 years younger, lose weight or run a marathon! Green tea can help you achieve your goals for health and fitness with a long list of promising positive result backed by a great deal of sound and tested literature that claims it lowers the risk of heart disease and improves resistance to some cancers.
It is also believed to help in fat burning. Although green tea is not going to cure all your of your ills, recent research has shown that it certainly is worth considering adding green tea to your diet as an extra weapon in your arsenal of fitness techniques, fat loss and to promote more healthy living choices.
Benefits of Green Tea…
Green Tea Improves The Tolerance Of Glucose
In March 2008, the University of Birmingham claimed that by ingesting an acute dose of green tea extract, it can lead to improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men. Glucose tolerance reflects how quickly the body clears sugars and a glucose tolerance test is routinely used to check for diabetes and insulin resistance.
Get A Healthy Smile By Drinking Green Tea
You may be aware of the fact that oral problems are closely linked to heart disease. Studies undertaken in Japan and New York have shown that green tea may provide benefits in fighting tooth decay and cavities, so you can keep a healthy smile and help to protect the health of your heart at the same time!
Green Tea As A Belly-Fat Blaster
An article in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the consumption of green tea catechin (which is an antioxidant) enhances exercise. It induces changes in abdominal fat and fasting serum triglycerides – in other words, it has fat blasting benefits. The antioxidant effect helps the liver to function more efficiently, which can help to speed up the metabolic rate.
If you combine just three days of exercise with drinking at least three cups of green tea a day, you can reduce abdominal body fat! This was in fact, the case after only three months. Those who drank green tea also found that their energy levels had increased.
Green Tea Can Prevent Food Poisoning
It has been shown that if you drink green tea with meals it may reduce the risk of bacterial food poisoning and this is because green tea can kill bacteria strains such as E.coli and clostridia. It also promotes the growth of friendly bifidobacteria.
Green Tea Guards Against Hepatitis
High levels of iron in the liver can cause viral hepatitis, and, as drinking green tea lowers iron levels throughout the body, it may have a direct anti-viral effect against certain strains of hepatitis.
Green Tea Can Help To Protect Against Diabetes
An enzyme called amylase is needed to break down starch when it is consumed. This enzyme breaks starch down into simple sugars that can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream. The polyphenols in the green tea inhibit the amylase in order to lower the blood sugar levels. High levels of glucose and insulin can make people more susceptible to diabetes.
Will Green Tea Help In My Workouts?
Improve Blood Flow By Drinking Green Tea
Sports performance and training can be greatly enhanced by improving the blood flow to the working muscles and green tea can help with this task.
Green tea is a great post-workout drink as it helps to prevent catabolism.
Green Tea Can Help Arthritis
Studies recently have shown that the antioxidants found in green tea may prevent or reduce the severity of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These antioxidants inhibit the COX-2 gene which triggers inflammation and have the same effect as anti-inflammatory drugs without causing any of the possible unpleasant side effects produced by some drugs.
Green Tea Can Prevent Bad Breath
Green tea is a natural anti-bacterial agent, so if you drink it with food, it may help to kill oral bacteria that can cause cavities and bad breath and, as oral hygiene is closely linked with the health of your heart, it is another good reason to drink green tea with your meals.
Green Tea Improves Your Immunity
If you gargle with green tea it can boost your immunity to influenza and flu, according to studies undertaken in Japan. Studies at Harvard University have also indicated that the chemicals in green tea stimulated Gamma-delta T cells, which can boost your immunity against bacteria and viruses. This is such a simple way to improve your immunity and well worth trying.
Green Tea Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
A two-year study of people aged 80 and over found that 96% of those who drank 10 cups of green tea a day did not show any signs of cognitive impairment, compared with only 12 % who did not drink green tea.
Green Tea Can Help Fight Allergies
Japanese researchers have identified a compound in green tea which blocks a cell receptor involved in producing an allergic response. These tests have been performed in the laboratory. This compound, methylated epigallocatechin gallate, works by blocking the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E. These two compounds in the body are mainly involved in triggering and sustaining allergic reactions.
How Does Green Tea Fight Heart Disease?
Green Tea Helps Fight Heart Disease
It has been shown that drinking green tea can reverse endothelial dysfunction. Recent studies have shown that just 30 minutes after drinking at least two cups of green tea, the endothelial cells that line your circulatory system dilate. This relaxes your veins and arteries and allows the blood to flow through the veins and arteries properly.
Drinking Green Tea Helps You To Focus
Theanine is an amino acid which is found in green tea and it has been shown to increase alertness in the same way as caffeine, but without causing the jitters! Theanine can also increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain that help to keep the brain focused. You should try to replace a cup of black coffee with a cup of green tea to see if you notice the benefits.
Drink Green Tea For Stronger Bones
Bone mineral density can be increased by the caffeine, fluoride, and phytoestrogen that is found in green tea. Yet another very good reason to be a regular green tea drinker!
Improved Insulin Control By Drinking Green Tea
Drinking a cup of green tea with at least three days of activity has been shown to stabilize high blood sugar levels, thereby improving your glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. As your body uses energy more efficiently it can help you to keep your body lean.
How much green tea should you be drinking?
The reality is that one cup of green tea a day will not give you all of these amazing benefits. The exact number of cups required has not been agreed upon. The jury is still out on the exact amount; some say as little as two cups a day while others say 10 cups — and still others say you can drink limitless cups every day.
If you are thinking of going this way though, be careful! You might want to consider taking a green tea supplement or tablet instead as you would not spend quite so much time heading to the bathroom!
Also, remember that there is caffeine in green tea (very few are caffeine free). If you are sensitive to caffeine then one cup should be your limit. Green tea also contains tannins (which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid), so if you are pregnant or trying to conceive than green tea may not be ideal for you.
You can try mixing green tea with other healthy ingredients such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon and ginger.
Another common question is where can I get it? And, is supermarket green tea as effective as the expensive kind?
Supermarket green tea is perfectly alright, but it will be of a lower grade.
This is because almost all of the tea sold in supermarkets is in tea bags. The higher grade tea is loose with larger, intact leaves. The lowest grade is the broken up leaves that fall on the bottom of the box. That is what goes into tea bags, since it’s too fine to be used loose in a teapot. Green tea which is sold in the tea bags also tends to be older. This is because it sits in warehouses longer, and has to be shipped around between even more warehouses and factories to put them into those teabags.
Supermarket-branded green tea is no better or worse than the name brand teabags. It is certainly convenient, but it is not as good. No two ways about it! You would be much better off to buy a box of the cheapest loose green tea.
The source of the magic of drinking green tea seems to come from the content of catechins. Catechins are the antioxidants that are believed to fight heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and many other health problems. In my opinion and experience, it would appear that you would have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making this powerful herb a part of your daily routine!
– Keith Cormican, RD
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