I for one am a huge tea advocate and have been drinking Green Tea every morning for as long as I can remember. In some countries, the traditional art of tea drinking is a spiritual and cultural experience to be preserved and carried out with poise and elegance. Personally, I like to drink my tea from my favorite oversized mug or elephant teapot and am usually sipping it while multitasking and trying not to get overeager and burn my tongue. Traditional? Nowhere near. But my love of Green Tea (along with a close friend’s decision to start a ‘green tea diet’) inspired me to take a closer look at some of its health benefits and whether or not it can help with weight loss.
Green tea originated in China and comes from the leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis. The leaves are usually picked, steamed to prevent fermentation, cooled and then dried. A good quality green tea will usually be dark green in color with a beautifully mild aroma, while cheaper or less quality green tea has quite a bitter flavor and can be a lot higher in caffeine.
The Health Benefits of Green Tea
One of the most noteworthy benefits of Green Tea is that it is full of antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals that would otherwise oxidize cell components leading to damage, ageing and carcinogenesis. The level of antioxidants in green tea (and many other teas) is said to be a lot higher than what you could find in fruit and vegetables and can be easily absorbed by the body. The antioxidants in some teas can be reduced during the fermentation process but green tea is harvested and prepared in such a way that is retains maximum antioxidants.
Green tea contains anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a natural aid in the treatment of arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and acne. It can be applied topically to the skin in order to treat acne outbreaks by reducing redness and swelling. The enzymes found in green tea might also be effective in the prevention of brain cell damage that can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The antioxidants in green tea contribute largely to its ability to strengthen the immune system, but it also contains a number of different vitamins and minerals. It is particularly rich in vitamin C, is antibacterial and contains an amino acid called L-theanine, all of which can fight infection, bacteria and viruses in the body. Drinking green tea regularly may decrease the frequency of colds and flus.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
I’m not a believer in any quick fix weight loss method but I do think that certain foods and beverages can accelerate the weight loss process to some extent, and green tea might just be one of them. Apart from the fact that plain green tea contains zero calories (flavored teas are an exception), it is also thought to help with weight loss because it can speed up the metabolic rate and help the body to burn fat more quickly. The vitamin C in green tea is also believed to be an appetite suppressant so it could help to control cravings and excessive snacking. You might want to try a Natural Green Weight Loss Supplement as some ‘green tea diets’ can contain a lot of not-so-healthy substances.
What’s also interesting to know is that green tea plays a role in the management of many weight related health issues. It can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease, can assist with digestion, and can help to regulate blood sugar levels which means a decrease in the threat of developing type 2 Diabetes. Some health professionals recommend drinking 2-3 cups of green tea each day to support a healthy weight loss regime.
The easiest way to drink green tea is to make a habit of having a cup each morning when you wake up or placing a green tea bag in your water bottle for the day. It is best to leave the tea bag in for around 3-5 minutes until the water is a rich green color and you can add lemon juice, honey, or coconut oil for extra flavor. Green tea is not a caffeine free beverage so be mindful of how much you drink and at what time of day so that it doesn’t affect your mood or your sleep. If you are concerned about your caffeine intake you can look at buying caffeine-free green tea, which still comes with many of the same health benefits.
Green tea can be purchased from any health food store and also comes in tablet or powder form for greater convenience and sometimes higher concentrations of antioxidants. You will find generic green tea brands at your local supermarket but it is always best to consider buying organic when it comes to tea as this means the leaves have been grown without the use of pesticides and won’t leave behind any dangerous chemical residue. One of my favourite tea companies where you can find loads of delicious, certified organic green tea blends is the Australian Fruit Tea Company. The Green Tea Guava is a-mazing and a must try!
Green tea is energizing, soothing for the soul and a much healthier (and calorie free!) alternative to milky coffee, soft drink, energy drinks or processed juice. Plus it adds to your fluid intake for the day so it can help keep you hydrated.