What is Green Tea?
Green tea is one of the four main types of tea along with oolong, black, and white. It’s highly popular in China and Japan, but it has also been sparking the tea craze in the West because of its distinct grassy flavor and health benefits. The world’s leading importers of green tea sent 7,919 metric tons of green tea to the US in 2019.
Like other teas, green tea is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The only difference is green tea is less processed, which is why it retains more antioxidants and polyphenols than other tea types.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
In Asia, green tea is being consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle. It is also being used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the West, it’s gaining popularity for its association with weight loss.
Research shows two ways green tea can help you lose weight. A study by the University of Chicago’s Tang Center of Herbal Medicine shows that green tea for weight loss can cause you to lose appetite, so you’ll eat less. A component of green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been shown to reduce hormones that help control one’s appetite.
The caffeine and catechins in green tea may also boost metabolism to help you burn fat faster. Consuming 4 cups of green tea a day has been shown to cause a significant decrease in body weight.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
In addition to weight loss, here are the other known benefits of green tea:
1. Boost brain function.
The caffeine in green tea may help boost brain function. It also has L-theanine, which helps calm stress-related anxiety. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, so you get the brain boost without the jittery effects.
2. Lower cancer risk.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which help protect against cancer and inflammation. Research has linked green tea with reduced breast cancer ((https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19437116/)), prostate cancer ((https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/167/1/71/185454)), and colorectal cancer risk((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28454102)).
3. Improve heart health.
Green tea improves heart health by helping reduce bad cholesterol in the body. Those who drink high amounts of green tea have lower levels of LDL and triglycerides and higher levels of good cholesterol. Drinking green tea with 150 to 2000 mg of catechins can reduce bad cholesterol in just 24 weeks((https://www.rxlist.com/green_tea/supplements.htm)).
4. Improve oral health.
Green tea has also been shown to lower risk of oral infections and plaque formation. It also helps prevent bad breath. Green tea reduces inflammation and reduces bacteria growth that have been linked to gum disease and bad breath.
How to Consume Green Tea
It’s best to drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day. For brain boosting benefits, it’s best to drink it before breakfast. For weight loss, it can be consumed before exercise to enhance fat burning. You can drink green tea hot or cold, but for both, you need to steep anywhere between 2 to 5 minutes to get all its potential benefits.
Don’t like the bitter taste of green tea? To reduce the bitter taste, you can add lemon juice, lemon slices, or peppermint leaves to your tea. Avoid over-brewing and drink your tea while it’s still hot. You can also add a teaspoon of honey after the water has slightly cooled.