Green tea is renowned for its weight loss benefits, but how true is it? Below we will explore the myriad of health benefits that comes along with the consumption of green tea, how it works and the best (and worst) times to drink it.
What is green tea?
Lots of varieties of tea come from the dried leaves of the Camellia Sinesis bush and, which can then be divided into four different categories based on how oxidized they are.
White tea is made from unoxidized buds, oolong tea stems from particularly oxidized leaves, and black tea is made of oxidized leaves. Green tea is made with unoxidized tea leaves. All of these types of tea contain antioxidants and have similar health benefits, but for the purpose of this discussion we will focus on green tea.
What are the benefits green tea in your diet?
There are many myths about what green tea is good for but none have been conclusive in their findings. Some of the many health benefits include;
- Reduce the risk of cancer – the antioxidant-compounds found in green tea have certainly been touted with cancer-fighting properties. The polyphenols found in green tea have been found to supress certain tumour cells.
- Lower cholesterol – drinking green tea regularly has been linked to the reduction of LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
- Calming effects – Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has the ability to make individuals more alert and enhance their mood.
- Green tea is packed full of antioxidants, specifically protective polyphenols. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids, the most active of which are catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which function as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are well known to help your body fight against disease, along with fruit and vegetables, green tea is a great addition to your diet.
Green tea for weight loss
To lose weight and burn fat your body must first break it down and move it into your bloodstream. The compounds in green tea can aid this process by boosting the effects of some fat-burning hormones, such as norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
As mentioned above, the antioxidant EGCG is found in green tea and is extremely helpful in inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the hormone norepinephrine.
When this enzyme is inhibited, the amount of norepinephrine increases, promoting fat breakdown.
Green tea is especially beneficial when used alongside a healthy diet and exercise.
When should you drink green tea?
While weight loss benefits vary based on different dynamics, they have been found by drinking as little as 2.5 cups of green tea per day is enough for long term health benefits. Green tea is best to be consumed in the morning around 10:00 to 11:00 am or early at night.
But, try to avoid drinking green tea directly before you go to sleep. This is because It contains the amino acid of L-Theanine which makes you more alert/awake and concentrate better. The best time to drink is two hours before bedtime because this is the lowest metabolism moment and the green tea can increase it.