Green tea has got a lot of recognition in recent years but is it worth the hype?
Whilst browsing the ingredient section of any fat burner you will be hard pressed to not find one common suspect- the humble Green Tea. It has been hailed as highly effective in the battle of the bulge and is even thought to have positive effects against cancer, but will switching to the green variety actually produce tangible results?
Here in Blighty we’re notorious for loving a good cuppa and rank 5th in the World for tea consumption (I know you thought we’d be higher, right?). It comes in behind water as the most regularly drank beverage with the average Brit downing over 2.5kg per person in a year. The ratio of that tea that’s green? 20%.
Despite being sipped internationally for hundreds of years Green Tea has only recently become popular in the West. It now seems prevalent in not only heath food stores but cafes and even your local pub.
Wander down the tea aisle of any supermarket and you’re sure to find an array of brands in all sorts of flavours from Lemon to Salted Caramel. Prefer a brew of an evening? They have decaf for that. There’s varieties aimed to combat the symptoms of a cold, increase your immunity, maintain healthy hair and skin; you name it these days they’ve tailored a green tea for it!
With the exception of herbal tea all teas are derived from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis bush which are picked and dried before making their way to your tea cannister. The level of exposure to the air determines the tea’s variety.
Green tea comes from unoxidized leaves making it one of the less processed assortments. As a result, it retains all of natures good stuff, with high levels of anti-oxidants and precious polyphenols. These natural chemicals account for up to 45% of the tipple, of which up to 80% are catechins like EGCG which are known to prevent cell damage. Polyphenols have a multitude of health benefits from anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. Studies are even currently being pioneered into their cancer beating properties; with initial results in animal studies looking positive to decrease tumours and protect against UVB radiation damage.
Drink yourself lean
Green tea has been proven in multiple studies (controlled human trials included) to boost metabolic rate and torch fat, especially unhealthy visceral fat found around the abdomen. Research suggests it can increase calories burned by 4%. It might not sound a lot but in the average male that accounts for 100 calories a day or a whopping 36,500 calories a year. That’s a physique honing 10.5 pounds of fat loss every year all from a wholesome cuppa!
There’s also the caffeine element- although modest compared to darker varieties and coffee you can still reap the benefits of the stimulant in your cup. Caffeine contributes towards improved brain function, combatting fatigue and increased physical performance, a sure-fire way to beast through that gym session.
How about blood sugar levels? Yep, Green Tea has your back with improving insulin sensitivity as well. Proven to lower the risk of type 2 Diabetes it has been shown to slightly reduce blood sugar. It’s thought Green Tea drinkers have an 18% lower risk of developing Diabetes.
Decreased DOMS? That too. Research is also now suggesting that Green Tea can decrease muscle soreness which means quicker recovery times to get you back at the gym in no time.
If you’re all about the green and looking to get the most nutritional bang for your buck; consider Matcha. Rather than being steeped like the classic version we’re accustomed to it’s made from ground leaves, so you consume more of the goodies.
In order to preserve the valuable catechins when making your brew try to rest boiled water for a few minutes before adding your tea bag. This will help avoid scorching the chemical goodness.
Don’t like the taste? Try it 12 times and come back to us. If you’re still struggling experiment with some of the added flavours like mint or jasmine. If all else fails look to supplementation, green tea extracts are available in a whole host of varieties.
So… has Green Tea earned its super food status? Absolutely! It’s an affordable, convenient and readily available beverage that we should all be committing to. Relaxing with a cuppa and shredding fat at the same time? Count us in.