After a tough week in the office, you’re probably going to want to invite several of your friends over to decompress, chat, and have a good time, right? Of course, you do! Let us ask you this, when you are munching on crudités and cheese platters, you’re probably sipping on some type of wine, right? While this is fine and well, why not opt for something unique and unexpected instead?
Show your friends that you’re classy and mindful of their health (hey, too much wine can be bad you’re your health—or at least give you a hangover if you aren’t careful!) when you pull out an elegant glass teapot infuser a tea kettle and a sampler pack of green tea. Why green tea, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple really—there are many health benefits associated with green tea!
Over the years, green tea has been one of the oldest and most favored herbal teas that people have turned to time and time again. It quickly became a popular beverage in the West because of the health benefits of green tea, even though some have been proven by research and others have not.
Possible Benefits Of Green Tea
If your friends look at you quizzically when you set before them a steaming mug of green tea, you can tell them that you’re only looking out for their health. When they ask you what is green tea good for, you can pull out this article and talk about health benefits they’re going to get from the tea, thanks to your thoughtfulness!
- Cancer – The National Cancer Institute suggests that the polyphenols found in the tea have beneficial toward decreasing tumor growth in test animals, as well as the fight against damage that’s caused by UVB radiation. Studies have shown that in countries where people consume lots of green tea, the cancer rate tends to be lower. In a large scale clinical study that compared people who consumed green tea regularly to those who didn’t, the green tea folk were less likely to develop a variety of cancers such as:
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Heart Disease – There was a study conducted in 2006 by the Journal of the American Medical Association that came to the agreement that when green tea is consumed, there is a correlation between the lower mortality rates that have been caused to cardiovascular disease and other causes. This is because the tea contains polyphenolic compounds called catechins, that are believed to have numerous effects that will protect someone’s cardiovascular system.
- Lowers Cholesterol – In 2011, there was an analysis that looked at published studies about how beneficial green tea was. The analysis foundthat when people consumed green tea in any form, there were noticeable, but modest, reductions in LDL cholesterol.
- Stroke – If you drink green tea, or even coffee, regularly, you’ll reduce the risk of having a stroke. The lead author of the journal, Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D., believes that the combination of green tea and coffee are especially useful in lowering the risk of a stroke.
- Improve Brain Function – Green tea does have caffeine in it, so it is going to help keep you awake and alert, but it is also believed to improve overall brain function. The caffeine will increase the rate at which your neurons fire by blocking a neurotransmitter call Adenosine.
By blocking that neurotransmitter, other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine can work more effectively. We should note that green tea also contains the amino acid, L-theanine. This amino acid helps to increase dopamine, as well as increases your brain’s alpha wave production. With a combination of these two compounds, your brain function will noticeably increase.
Some of the other health concerns that the tea could help treat or prevent include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Inflammatory Skin Diseases
- Type 2 Diabetes
Is Green Tea Good For Weight Loss?
Maybe when you’re gabbing with your friends about these health benefits, perhaps your friend may have read the Redbook article where a woman reportedly lost 106 pounds by drinking 9 cups of green tea alone. When she’s finished talking about the 2015 article, you may be asking yourself, “Does green tea help you lose weight, or was that just a gimmick?”
Well, to answer your question, yes, green tea can help you lose weight—to a degree. When you are drinking a cup of the tea, you’re getting about 24 to 40mg of caffeine, which is a stimulant that’s been shown to have fat burning properties. However, it isn’t nearly enough to have any real effects; at least not like you might hope.
Instead, the real star of the green tea fat burner team is the catechins. These potent antioxidants, mostly the EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is coveted for its ability to boost metabolism. In fact, green tea has been put into extract form and are included in many weight loss supplements. You’d be hard pressed to find a diet pill or fat burner that doesn’t have these extracts in their ingredient list.
Green Tea: The Side Effects
We don’t want to downplay the positive effects of drinking green tea, but we do want to mention that there are some possible side effects of consuming too much. How many cups of green tea a day is too much, you ask? Eh, it’s hard to say, to be honest. Women’s Health Magazine says you may want to stop at 4 cups per day, whereas PopSugar reports that medical studies suggest the limit should be at 10 cups per day.
Why is too much green tea bad? The tannins in the tea can inhibit folic acid from being absorbed in the body. If you’re pregnant, you’ll definitely want to limit your green tea intake because folic acid is important for ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Also, too much green tea can affect the way your body absorbs iron so you may not want to drink a cup of the stuff with your meals (maybe you’ll think twice about asking for green tea the next time you dine in an Asian establishment?).
So, other than your body not being able to absorb folic acid or iron, what other side effects could too much green tea cause your body to go through?
- Stomach Problems - The tannins can increase your stomach’s acidity and cause stomach aches, nausea, or even constipation. Interestingly enough, people in Japan and China will not drink the tea on an empty stomach. Also, when the tea isn’t brewed properly, it could have negative effects like heartburn or upset stomach.
- Anemia – The National Cancer Institute recommends that you drink green tea between meals if your anemic. In a 2001 study, the extracts of green tea will reduce non-heme iron, which is the main type of iron in eggs, dairy, and vegetables, by 25%.
- Headaches – There have been studies where a population has been monitored to see how caffeine, which is in the tea, will affect headaches. The study shows that regular caffeine consumption increases the risk of experiencing chronic daily headaches.
- Liver Disease – If you take green tea supplements, you may be increasing your risk of liver damage. There have also been instances where the green tea extracts can worsen pre-existing liver disease because caffeine may build up in your blood and stay there longer.
- Osteoporosis – When you drink the tea, you are going to increase the amount of calcium that is going to be flushed out when your urinate. This leaves you to be susceptible to osteoporosis and an overall deterioration of bone health.
Along with potential side effects, you may want to avoid green tea if you take stimulant drugs like nicotine, cocaine, ephedrine, and amphetamines, as they have been known to cause negative reactions when combined in excess.
When Should You Drink Green Tea And How Much?
With all this said and you are certain that you want to go on drinking green tea (which is quite alright because everything is good in moderation!), you might wonder when is the best time to drink the tea so you can maximize the benefits.
The best time to drink a cup of green tea is in the morning, after you eat something light, especially if you are trying to use the tea to help boost your weight loss and metabolism. The tea has thermos-genic properties, meaning it will cause your body’s metabolism burn fuel much quicker. Thus you’ll burn more fat.
Now, when it comes to how much tea is safe to drink, it really depends on how your body reacts to the caffeine in it. We feel that 4 cups per day is an okay amount of the green goodness. However, we don’t recommend having too much more.
Also, it isn’t recommended that you drink the tea in between meals so your body can absorb iron properly.
How To Make Green Tea
When you want to settle down and relax, or offer a friend a comforting cup of tea, or even prepare yourself for an intense workout, here’s how you to make the perfect cupof green tea:
- To preserve the benefits catechins in the tea, you’ll want to steep your green tea in water that is somewhere between 160 to 170 degrees. Any hotter than that and you can hurt the catechins and not get all the benefits of the tea.
- Add some lemon to your tea. The lemons contain Vitamin C, which makes it easier for your body to absorb the catechins. Avoid adding milk to your tea because it makes it harder for your body to absorb them.
- When you are choosing what tea to buy, keep in mind that the most expensive teas will probably have a high level of nutrients. If you’re drinking the tea for the nutritional benefits, you may have to spend a bit more money.
There are many different “miracle” diet fads and “miracle” foods popping up on a regular basis. All of these fad foods make claims that all your health problems will melt away and so will any excess weight that you want to get rid of. However, the truth is, these claims are made without long-term evidence. That is, except for green tea.
Green tea has been used for hundreds of years by the East and those populations rarely become ill due to cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. While it’s true that they may lead healthier lifestyles than we do in the West, but there is still something to be said about regular consumption of green tea! There are numerous health benefitsthat you simply cannot deny that there is some truth behind the claims that green tea is a great addition to anyone’s diet.
Of course, like all things, you don’t want to consume too much, as there are some serious negative side effects as well. True, the side effects aren’t a direct cause of the tea itself, but more of the caffeine that is in the tea. The caffeine, although it is nowhere as high as coffee, can be quite harmful if ingested in large amounts.
So with that in mind, when you decide to add this beverage to your diet, we recommend you use your better judgment and practice moderation!