Power Food: Green Tea

3 Great Ways Green Tea Will Make You Leaner & Happier

Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, behind only water. The earliest documented use of tea as a beverage dates back to China in 59 B.C. It has been used for medicinal purposes for over 3,000 years.

Green, Black, White and Oolong tea all come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis). Each variety of tea is picked, processed, and manufactured differently – resulting in different tastes, nutrient compositions, and health-boosting properties.

Antioxidant Power of Green Tea

Green tea contains higher levels of the antioxidants called polyphenols and catechins, as compared to black or oolong teas. You may have heard of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), the most abundant (and well studied) antioxidant in green tea.

Relax with Green Tea

In addition to antioxidants, green tea also contains high levels of the amino acid theanine. Theanine is responsible for green tea’s relaxation and anti-stress effects.

In one study, researchers followed over 4,000 Japanese individuals for 11 years and found that the people who drank the most green tea were least likely to suffer symptoms of psychological distress.

Green Tea and Weight Loss

Green tea is a popular additive to weight loss supplements as it is consistently shown to help boost weight loss. But you don’t need a supplement to reap these benefits. Drinking 5 cups of green tea (not the de-caffeinated version) every day for 12 weeks can increase your weight loss by 3 pounds while decreasing your waistline by almost an extra inch.

Green tea does this by enhancing several different fat burning pathways in your body, from increasing the expression of fat burning genes, to properly stimulating your nervous system, to enhancing abdominal fat loss.

Nature’s Appetite Suppressant

Green tea can also help you feel more satisfied after a meal – a feeling that is often lacking from most dieters’ dining experiences. New research published in Nutrition Journal showed that drinking a 10 ounce cup of green tea while eating lunch increased study participants’ feelings of fullness and decreased their desire to eat more of their favorite foods.

Increased levels of neurotransmitter norepinephrine can help reduce food intake and increase the feeling of fullness. The antioxidants in green tea prevent the breakdown of norepinephrine, helping you eat less.

Next time you have a food craving, snack on a handful of pistachios and a large cup of green tea. The anti-hunger effects of green tea, combined with the protein and fat in the pistachios, are a powerful enough combination to curb any craving attack.

The Perfect Cup of Tea

The bottom line about green tea is that you should drink it – but how? To make the best tasting cup of tea, allow the water to sit for one minute after it has boiled, then let the tea bag sit in the water (also known as steeping) for 1-1:30 minutes.

The longer you steep the tea, the more antioxidants will be drawn from the tea leaves. However, antioxidants tend to taste bitter. So, the longer you steep your tea, the more bitter it will taste. Research from Temple University shows that Americans in general do not like overly flavored or bitter green tea. If green tea isn’t instantly your favorite beverage, try steeping it for a shorter amount of time. You can still get the most antioxidants from your tea by re-using the tea bag and having another cup.

Skip the bottled artificially-sweetened teas sold in stores. An independent food lab based out of North Brunswick, New Jersey found that these products have only 6% of the antioxidants found in regular green tea.

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