Green tea has been a staple of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries. Within the past few decades, researchers and Western health practitioners have also begun touting the numerous benefits of regularly consuming green tea. Studies have shown that it may help in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including atherosclerosis, several cancers, liver disease, diabetes and even dental cavities.
Some of the most compelling research for green tea benefits lies in the area of weight loss.
A large and growing body of research suggests that green tea has significant effects on the reduction of body fat, body weight and body mass index. Perhaps most surprisingly, these benefits can be achieved by drinking only a couple of cups of green tea daily.
Green tea, like black and oolong teas, is made from the Camellia sinensis
plant, which grows in Asia and in some parts of Africa and the Middle East. The difference between green tea and other teas is in how the leaves are processed. To make green tea, the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are wilted and steamed. This process preserves high concentrations of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that scientists believe are responsible for green tea’s amazing health benefits.
The polyphenols in green tea are called catechins. Many researchers believe that these catechins have fat-burning properties. The most studied of these is apigallocatechin gallate, also called EGCG, which is believed to be the most active and beneficial element in green tea. How does green tea aid in weight loss?
Research suggests that EGCG packs a powerful punch: in addition to aiding in weight loss, this catechin kills cancer cells, lowers cholesterol and stops the formation of dangerous blood clots.
While EGCG is believed to play the biggest role in weight loss, other green tea components may contribute. A cup of green tea contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine. Although this is less than the amount found in coffee or black tea, it still acts to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. Green tea also contains theobromine and theophylline, two substances that have been shown to have stimulant effects.
The body of research supporting the weight loss benefits of green tea is extensive.
According to a 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one bottle of green tea daily can lead to a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index and waist circumference. Another study conducted in the Netherlands showed that while caffeinated green tea had the greatest weight loss benefits, even those who drank the decaffeinated version saw improved results. Green tea has also been shown to have other dietary benefits, including stabilizing blood sugar and lowering cholesterol.
The most common way to consume green tea is by drinking it.
To get the greatest benefits, many doctors recommend two to three cups of tea per day. While green tea is naturally caffeinated, decaffeinated products are available. Green tea is also sold as a concentrated liquid or in powder form, which can be added to smoothies, juices or food. Green tea pills are also available.
While green tea has a number of well-documented benefits, you should consult your healthcare practitioner before incorporating it into your diet if you have a significant medical history or are taking any prescriptions, as green tea can interact negatively with certain conditions or medications. Because green tea is naturally caffeinated, a caffeine overdose can occur. For this reason, doctors recommend that green tea drinkers stay within recommended limits of consumption.
Although researchers continue to study the health benefits of green tea, the body of evidence is clear: regular consumption can lead to significant weight loss. By simply incorporating two or three cups of green tea into your daily routine, you may see real results.
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