Why Green Tea Is So Good For You
You’ve probably seen someone at the coffee shop order a matcha drink. A bright green beverage resembling what I’d imagine blended-up grass looks like. Although you might be aware that matcha is extremely good for you, do you know why? It’s a type of green tea, one of the -- if not the -- healthiest drinks in the world. That’s because its benefits range from being a powerful antioxidant to promoting weight loss.
The Deal With Green Tea
Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis L plant and historians have traced it back to 2737 B.C. China. By harvesting the leaves and buds from the plant, people have been benefiting from green tea for centuries. These days, green tea comes in a variety of forms, matcha being one of them. But it’s also available to make as tea, a green tea shot, or even as an extract. Green tea extracts are more concentrated, allowing for higher dosages to reap more benefits.
Rich in polyphenol catechins and caffeine, green tea has both direct and indirect antioxidant effects . Catechins work to stabilize free radicals, which can decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease. It can even potentially treat these conditions, lowering cholesterol and stopping cancer cells from spreading.
Studies have shown green tea can also improve brain function. Yet the most important catechin in green tea by far is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) . That’s because EGCG boosts the metabolism, giving green tea its fat-burning quality.
How It Promotes Weight Loss
By increasing the metabolic rate, green tea causes thermogenesis, the activation of energy through heat production. It stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to burn brown adipose tissue, therefore burning more calories.
In one study, men that ingested green tea extract before their workout burned 17% more fat than those who didn’t . But green tea also burns calories at rest, encouraging a higher chance of weight loss when combined with proper diet and exercise. In addition to the catechins, the caffeine content in green tea, while not enough to do much on its own, works in tandem to increase metabolism just a bit more.
What’s even better about it is that green tea is pretty safe in up to 8 cups per day . There have been some uncommon reports of liver problems, so those with liver related-diseases should consult with a doctor before use.
- Hodgson, A. B., Randell, R. K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2013, March 1). The effect of green tea extract on fat oxidation at rest and during exercise: Evidence of efficacy and proposed mechanisms. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649093/
- Shixian Q;VanCrey B;Shi J;Kakuda Y;Jiang Y; (n.d.). Green tea extract thermogenesis-induced weight loss by epigallocatechin gallate inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase. Journal of medicinal food. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17201629/
- AE;, V. M. C. H. C. J. C. H. R. J. (n.d.). Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18326618/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Green tea. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/green-tea#:~:text=Green%20tea%2C%20when%20consumed%20as,naturally%20occurs%20in%20green%20tea.