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Green Tea – All you need to know about this antioxidant

Green Tea – All you need to know about this antioxidant

Green tea is one of the most important varieties of tea. In general, tea is one of the vegetable drinks with more antioxidant content.

What is green tea?

Green tea, like black tea and oolong, is a product that is obtained from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. This plant belongs to the theaceae family and it grows so much that it can become a shrub, and sometimes a small tree.

In order to explain the differences between these three different teas, we will focus on the fermentation degree of the raw material (leaves). But before fermenting them, the leaves need to be processed in order to obtain green tea; oolong tea leaves will need to undergo an intermediate fermentation process; black tea will need to be completely fermented.

However, this fermentation process does not only affect the visual aspect of the teas. It plays a crucial role in their chemical composition and the concentration of two crucial substances: polyphenols and theine. The result will depend on the fermentation degree: the higher the fermentation, the lower the pholyphenol content will be while the caffeine content will increase. Green tea is the variety with a higher polyphenol content. On the other hand, black tea has three times more theine than polyphenols. Moreover, their flavor will also be affected, green tea will have the smoothest flavor of the three, while oolong and black tea will be stronger.

Origin of Green Tea

This product is native to China and it has been consumed for more than five thousand years. At the beginning, teas were an exclusive product in the diet of the aristocracy. This situation lasted while the country was under the rule of the Ming dynasty. With democracy, its consumption became available for all the population. This massively increased the demand, to the point that its cultivation started to overproduce. This resulted in the exportation of this product to other parts of the world.

But this would not happen until the 17th century, when the British learned about the benefits of green tea for health. They became the most loyal consumers of this product in Europe. In fact, after the Chinese emperor forbid its exportation, the British authorities planned their cultivation in their Asian colonies. They started cultivating it in India in order to become self-sufficient.

Currently, Camellia sinensis is very easy to find. It makes up some ecosystems of East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. However, China and Japan are still the main producers of high quality green tea.

How many types of green tea are there?

A good quality green tea is sweet and fresh while producing a powerful invigorating effect. However, there is not a single type of green tea, this generic name gathers an interesting number of teas. We will be able to find affordable varieties and premium products for the most demanding palates.

We will describe the most commonly sold varieties in specialized stores.

Natural green tea leaves

Sencha or roasted tea

It is the classical Japanese green tea. It is enormously popular in the island and consumed daily by all the population. But it is also the most common in our market as well. It is probably the most purchased one by average Spanish consumers because it is also quite affordable. Moreover, it is easy to prepare, the recently harvested leaves are subjected to steam currents. This one also has a somewhat saline flavor with a light bitter touch.

Fukamushi Sencha, Ryocucha or steam tea

It is also from Japan. However, the steam treatment lasts longer. This results in a more intense flavor and removes the astringent feeling of the Sencha.

Gyokuro or Jade dew

It has a dimmer color, a less astringent flavor and probably the sweetest one. This is all due to the fact that the Camellia branches are covered by a specific fabric a week before being harvested. This reduces the impact of the sunlight, so that the catechins increase the amino acid content.

Kabusecha or covered tea

It is obtained from the Camellia sinensis new leaves, which are less exposed to the sun. It results in a more delicate tea. Although its darker color may seem to indicate just the opposite.

Matcha or ground tea

It is the natural product from very old plants. During the manufacturing process, the leaves are ground until they become powder. It is regarded as a tea of the highest quality. Moreover, it is the protagonist in the Japanese tradition of the “tea ceremony”.

Genmaicha or rice tea

To obtain it, common green tea is equally mixed with whole rice bran which has been cooked and roasted. This results in a product that includes the own features of roasted rice and the freshness of green tea. Its scarce theine content makes it suitable for children.

Hojicha or completely roasted tea

The Sencha leaves are roasted in a metallic recipient at 200 degrees. This reduces the amount of theine almost completely. The result is a pale and light product which is suitable for children and the elderly.

Shincha or new tea

It is the product that signals the beginning of the harvest and it is obtained from the new leaves. This tea is the sweetest and the one with less theine. There is actually a legend about this plant, it goes like this: when the leaves are harvested the 88th day of the harvest, consuming them will grant a good health during that year.

Chinese teas

China has the widest number of teas. Some of them are very exclusive and only a few people can afford them.

Green tea manual harvest

LongJing or Dragon Well

This one is the top of Chinese teas. It is quite expensive, around a thousand dollars per kilo. Moreover, this tea is only cultivated in Zhejiangm, otherwise it will be only an imitation.

One of the reasons why it is so expensive is due to the manufacturing process. It is completely traditional and it requires several hours for just one worker to produce only a hundred grams. The personnel has been properly trained to perform these tasks. The soft sprouts are the raw ingredient of this tea, which have to be harvested during the night or very early in the morning. These sprouts only last between half a month or a month per year.

The sprouts are roasted in a recipient called wok. It lasts several hours and it has to be stirred with the hands.

Its flavor reminds of spinach, fresh herb and chestnut.

Biluochun or snail tea

It is another premium variety with an early and short harvest. It is not as expensive as the previous one. Its manufacturing process uses steam that makes the leaves roll as if they were snail shells. When it comes to its flavor, it has a more fruity touch than the previous one.

Gunpowder tea

It is called like that due to the leaves aspect after being roasted. They look like small gunpowder grains.

This product has a more reasonable price. Its color is similar to that of olives, with a quite aromatic and sweet flavor.

Other popular Chinese green teas are Chung Mee, which tastes like plums, and Taiping houkui.

Green tea crops

The secrets of its cultivation

Immediately after harvesting the green tea leaves, the contact with oxygen makes them darken progressively. That is why it is important to stop this phenomenon when making green tea. This is achieved thanks to heat, either in ovens or steam currents. The objective is to dehydrate the leaves so that they will be hermetically sealed once they are cold.

Camellia sinensis needs at least 4 hours of sunlight daily and it cannot stand temperatures under -10 °C. The temperature will affect the cultivation time as well as the selection of the leaves, which can be manual or mechanical. The quality of the green tea varies significantly, both in terms of the organoleptic as well as its nutrient richness.

But what truly makes the difference are the features surrounding the cultivation. That is: the climate, altitude and soil. In general, the tea that is planted on high mountains has a superior quality than that cultivated next to the sea. This is due to the fact that the cold and humid air grant tea certain peculiar features. Moreover, mountains are also farther away from atmospheric pollution.

It is a robust and resistant plant that barely needs any special care. But it will need more attention during the first stages because it is a little bit delicate. Let’s see the different stages for the cultivation of green tea.

Pre-planting nursery: first step

Everything starts by planting cuttings, which are fragments which have been carefully and selectively cut to reproduce another plant. They will remain in a nursery between 9 and 12 months. After this period, the shrub will be strong enough to be transplanted. As the cuttings grow, we have to remove the soil to oxygenate it and fertilize it regularly. We suggest adding dry fertilizer every 60 days, more frequently during the summer.

Cultivation of green tea

Type of soil and planting

Camellia sinensis needs a space between light and shadow, with a rich soul with plenty of organic matter, a clay-sand or volcanic soil with good drainage (to prevent water accumulation) and slightly acid (avoid alkaline soils).

The best thing to do is plant a small plant with developed roots. If we purchase a bigger plant in a pot we run the risk of choosing one with undeveloped roots.

We will need to dig a hole according to the dimensions of the plant. It needs to be three times deeper and four times wider. One you put the plant inside, you will not need to press the dirt too much, leave it slightly loose, water it and cover it with an organic bed of 10cm.

Watering

It is a species that demands plenty of water. This is due to the fact that it tends to dry when it is exposed to the sun. The ideal temperature for its growth would be between 14 and 27 degrees.

It is necessary to increase the watering during the summer and winter if it is dry, as well as during the flowering stage.

Pruning

This plant needs to be pruned regularly. The first pruning has to be done when the plants is three years old. This process mainly has two objectives: it is easier to harvest the leaves manually and stimulate the growth of sprouts. It is indispensable to obtain a high quality tea.

Plagues and diseases

The most significant damage that the Camellia sinensis can suffer is caused by insects. It can be observed in malformations in the leaves, since they are the most vulnerable part. We should suspect if we find leaves that are folded, rolled, faded, stained or dry, but we may also find sawdust on the trunk or branches. The most common insects that cause damage are cicadas, trips, aphids, termites and mites.

Fungi can also be a threat to this plant. They can affect the leaves, sprouts, branches and roots; of all the existing fungal diseases, blister blight is the most devastating one. It is caused by the Exobasidium vexans fungi, which makes holes in the leaves and trunk. It spreads quickly and it is difficult to get rid of it due to its high resistance to the treatments.

Another frequent disease is canker caused by the Colletotrichum, Gloesporium and Coniothyrium fuckelii fungi species. It usually appears during the pruning or cutting. It causes the onset of stains of different colors in the leaves which destroy the stem tissue and flowers.

Some of the most remarkable bacteria are the Pseudomonas, which can trigger ulcers in the trunks and branches.

Properties of Green Tea

When we talk about green tea, we refer to the one that is between the smooth and strong ones. As we previously mentioned, it is the variety with the best properties for our health.

If we had to pick the reason why green tea has so many benefits, we would say that it is due to its polyphenol content. These are chemical compounds and catechins are the most abundant ones in tea. They have an extremely powerful antioxidant effect, and their are the reason why tea has a bitter taste. Not in vain, its effects are superior than those of vitamin C.

Green tea has six different catechin molecules. Catechin, gallocatechin, epicatechin, epicathechin galate and epigallocatechin galate (which tends to be called EGCG). The latter one is the most active predominant polyphenol in green tea.

Its excellent chemical composition includes other substances that we are just going to mention briefly: caffeine alkaloids, theobromine and theophylline (stimulants); L-theanine, an amino acid with an analogous structure to glutamic acid, which relaxes the nervous system without altering the focus or sleep patterns.

Green tea has two very interesting properties that we want to highlight: the fact that it does not contain any sugar and its balanced theine supply.

When compared to coffee or red and black tea, green tea has a clear advantage: it is a stimulant like caffeine-rich drinks and this substance is excreted through the urine throughout the day.

The benefits of green tea

The main benefits of green tea for our health

Arteriosclerosis

Many scientific studies agree on its antioxidant properties. So we may say that green tea can be an useful product to prevent arterosclerorsis. This is due to the fact that it helps to lower the LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These two compounds are important elements in the formation of atheroma plaques.

The studies claim that it can lower the risk of suffering a heart attack in a 11% if we take three cups of green tea daily. They also suggest that the polyphenols from tea can block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol. There are also studies on smokers, which tend to suffer an increase of LDL cholesterol, who were capable of significantly reducing the levels of this substance by taking green tea.

Regulate the cholesterol

The researchers believe that green tea lowers the cholesterol levels. It inhibits its absorption in the digestive tract while increasing its excretion.

A study conducted on 2003 showed how green tea capsules helped to keep the cholesterol levels under control. However, it had to be combined with a diet low in saturated fatty acids. The study examined 240 adults who had suffered between a mild and moderate cholesterol increase.

The results of the study focused on those who took green tea extract for twelve weeks. They experienced a sharp drop of LDL cholesterol (or “bad cholesterol”) when compared to those participants who were given a placebo for the same period of time.

It protects the heart health

Drinking green tea regularly reduces the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, strokes and heart attacks. One of the benefits of catechins from green tea consists of regulating the blood pressure.

A Japanese study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” showed a significant lower mortality due to heart diseases among those who drink tea regularly.

The study showed how those who drank more than 5 cups of tea daily for 11 years reduced the mortality rate associated with heart disorders in a 16% when compared to those who drank less than one cup daily.

They also found out that green tea is especially useful to prevent an ictus. This is due to its antioxidant content and its ability to prevent the obstruction of the arteries.

Benefits of green tea for cardiovascular health

Other diseases

The studies provide scientific evidence that green tea is capable of supporting our body’s defenses in order to prevent several types of cancer. There is concluding epidemologic data in Japan, a country where the intake of green tea daily is massive. That is probably the reason why Japanese people have a lower risk of suffering malign tumors in Japan.

But the potential of this product regarding cancer does not seem to be limited to its prevention. There are several researchers who believe it can combat cancer cells with its polyphenol content, and stop the growth of tumors.
Let’s have a look at the information available regarding certain types of cancer in different parts of the body.

Bladder

Even if there are not many studies focused on finding the link between bladder cancer and tea, the truth is that they are promising. More specifically, there was a study conducted on people with this type of cancer and others who were used as negative control. Drinking green tea protected the health of those who have been regular consumers of this product.

The same research time focused the study prospectively and it revealed that those who suffer bladder cancer, especially men, but who drank tea regularly, had more chances to survive the cancer than those who did not drink it.

Breast

Some research works have shed some light about the effects of green tea polyphenols against the growth of cancer cells in breast tissue. Particularly, a study conducted on 472 women with cancer at different stages concluded that the tumor spread slower on those women who drank green tea. The implications were higher in non-menopausal women. At the same time, the study was later completed with another interesting discovery: women who already drank more than three cups of tea daily before being diagnosed, had a significantly higher risk of relapsing after concluding the anti-tumoral treatment.

Another study concluded that women under the age of 50 who consumed less than three cups of tea daily had a 37% lower risk of suffering breast cancer.

Colon and rectal

Up until now, the studies about the effects of green tea on colon and rectal cancer provided controversial results. To the point that in certain cases, it was concluded that those who drank green tea lowered the risk while others opposed to this statement, by claiming that it actually increased the risk. One of these studies concluded that women who drank 5 or more cups a day had a lower risk of suffering colon/rectal cancer. However, there was no correlation between green tea and the risk of this type of cancer in the male population.

From all this, we can conclude that we need more and deeper research before stating any kind of advice regarding the intake of green tea to prevent colon/rectal cancer.

Lung

After proving the ability of the polyphenols to inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells in the lung in vitro studies, there are still not enough objective studies that grant this property to green tea. There is only one study that detected a connection between partially fermented green tea, called Okinawa tea, with a lower risk of suffering lung cancer in women.

Skin

The main polyphenol from green tea is epigallocatechin galate (EGCG). It has important anti-cancer properties that can help to prevent the onset of skin tumors such as carcinomas in flat cells.

Prostate

Some laboratory studies have revealed the ability of green tea extracts in vitro to fight against the growth of tumor cells. More specifically, an important study with a big sample conducted on China showed how the risk of suffering from prostate cancer significantly dropped after increasing the intake frequency and amount of green tea.

However, as a counterpart, it seems that the green tea extracts also stimulated certain genes that made the treatment against cancer less effective. This was due to the fact that they were the ones in charge of regulating the cancer sensitivity to chemotherapy medicines. That is why those who are going to be treated with chemotherapy should consult their doctor before taking green tea or tea supplements.

A study from 2009 conduced on 26 men with prostate cancer proved how those who took green tea extract daily experienced a significant drop of the cancer progress markers.

The dose used was four capsules equal to 12 cups of ground green tea. The treatment lasted between 12 and 73 days, with an average duration of 34.5 days.

Properties of green tea for the digestion

Stomach

Unlike prostate cancer, there are laboratory studies that have proven how green tea polyphenols have a strong inhibition effect on the growth of cancer cells in the stomach. However, these studies have only been tested in vitro, but there are not similar results in vivo studies.

At the same time, there are two thesis focused on contrasting the effects about the risk of suffering this cancer. The sample includes people who drink green tea and another witness.
Both of the concluded that there was a 50% less risk of suffering this type of cancer for those who drank green tea.

Diabetes

Green tea is a traditional resource when it comes to keeping the blood glucose levels under control. But this practice has been supported by several studies with animals that state that this product has two benefits for this endocrine disorder: on the one hand, it can help to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, it can stop its growth.

There is also reasonable evidence that consuming green tea extract regularly can reduce the A1c hemoglobin levels. This means that there is less glucose bound to the hemoglobin, which makes it easier to control the glycemia.

Liver diseases

Those who consume a lot of this tea (around ten cups daily, which is a lot) have less chances of suffering hepatic problems. Moreover, it can be effective for a treatment against hepatitis thanks to the catechins. However, the dose of caffeine that is simultaneously taken could trigger other type of problems. That is why a decision like this should be consulted with your doctor.

At the same time, there are laboratory studies with mice which have contrasted effects on the liver protection against the onset of neoplasia or tumors. However, these results have not been tested in people yet.

Nevertheless, there seems to be consensus in the scientific community regarded the ability of green tea to protect us against hepatotoxic substances such as alcohol or drugs.

Inflammatory bowel disease

We know that green tea contributes to controlling the intensity of inflammatory processes related to Crohn’s disease and ulcerous colitis. These are the two main varieties of the inflammatory bowel disease.

Against the pain of rheumatoid arthritis

The results of the study were published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” from the United States. They proved how the antioxidant polyphenols contained in green tea can help patients who suffer arthritis, reducing the severity of the disease.

EGCG protects against the destruction of cartilage and reduces the joint pain and inflammation.

This is due reason why many professionals advise green tea to support an arthritis treatment.

Green tea for rheumatoid arthritis

It protects the brain cells

“There is scientific evidence, both experimental and epidemiological, that shows how certain natural compounds, like the catechins from green tea can: protect against the onset and symptoms of diseases related to aging such as Parkinson, stokes, Alzheimer, ELA and other brain diseases”. This was stated by Bradford L. Frank, MD, MPH, MBA, professor at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo.

A study conducted on more than 1,000 Japanese adults older than 70 proved how consuming green tea regularly is related to a lower cognitive deterioration.

When compared to those who drank three cups of less a week, those who drank a cup daily have 38% less cognitive deterioration. This protective effect has not been tested on those who drink black tea or coffee.

It slows down the development of Alzheimer and Parkinson

A recent report published in the “Fitomedicina” journal, provides significant evidence of how the green tea enzyme can protect the brain cells against degenerative damage.

In another study from the University of South Florida, they examined the effects of EGCG antioxidants. The results were that they can block the proteins, preventing chemical reactions that can damage the nerves and trigger Alzheimer and Parkinson.

It stimulates the immune system

The catechins and compound polyphenol antioxidants from green tea have positive effects on the immune system. The results of the research, published in Hospital Brigham in 2003, proved how theanine from green tea activates the T gamma cells and increases the delta ones. This enhances the adaptation and defense of the immune system.

The study examined a group of coffee drinkers and another group of green tea drinkers. Both drank 600ml of each drink daily. After four weeks, the blood samples clearly showed how the amount of anti-bacterial proteins were five times higher in those who drank green tea.

It prevents the flu and colds

According to a study published in 2007, green tea supplements help to combat colds and the flu.

Two groups of healthy adults were studied for three months. They were given a proprietary formula of green tea extract or a placebo twice a day. In the end, the group who took these food supplements experienced less symptoms of colds and flu and the disease lasted for a shorter period of time.

Green tea against colds and the flu

It helps to combat the infections

One of the main benefits of EGCG from green tea has been brought up in a study published in “El Diario de Alergia e Inmunología Clínica”. It concluded that it can prevent the onset of infections, except for the VIH.

EGCG is combined with a T cell CD4 receptor, which prevents VIH from doing so and reduces the risk of suffering an infection.

Although it is too early to say that green tea could be a potential remedy against VIH. However, an Egyptian study proved how combining antibiotics with green tea enhanced their efficacy.

Green tea was tested against 28 pathogen microorganisms responsible for several diseases. The results were that green tea could combat the bacteria in all the cases.

Multiple sclerosis treatment

Dr. Orhan Aktas conducted a study in 2007 to review how could green tea help those who suffer multiple sclerosis.

He found out that, there was no way to prevent the damage the the tissues and the disability. However, the EGCG from green tea could still have an important impact on multiple sclerosis,

He reached the conclusion that EGCG can protect against the neuronal injury of brain tissues for life. Moreover, the EGCG compounds could be a new therapeutic treatment for MS, since they combine anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

It combats the causes of allergy in the body

It has been discovered that methyl EGCG blocks a cell receptor that is involved in allergic reactions. EGCG blocks the production of histamine and the immunoglobulin E (IgE), which are involved in the onset and development of allergies. EGCG could help to prevent the nasal secretion, watery eyes and coughing.

It slows down the aging process and prevents the onset of wrinkles

Its anti-aging effect lies in the fact that it stimulates the antioxidants that prevent the oxidation and cell damage. These factors can make people look older than what they truly are.

The results of studies about this benefit of green tea follow a new research line that suggests that green tea is effective against aging only when it is applied topically. However, many people who take quality green tea extracts have a much young-looking and smooth skin.

Green tea, effects of EGCG (epigallocatechin)

Green tea is gaining more attention due to all the supposed effects about increasing the metabolism, fat burning, antioxidant effect, etc. However, are these effects real or just a way to trick customers into buying this product?

Green tea

For this, unlike what many people think, we should not focus on the effects of theine, but rather on epigallocatechin. Also known as EGCG, it is the most abundant catechin in green tea.

Study about the efficacy of EGCG

In 2007, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study:

In it, they tested the efficacy of EGCG for 12 weeks. The participants were divided in two groups:

  1. One of the groups took a placebo y
  2. The other took 150mg of EGCG.
The results were quite similar in terms of the fat percentage, the hip and the percentage of abdominal fat.

However, the glucose levels were lower in those who took EGCG, which is one of the functions of green tea:

Improving the blood glucose levels producing an anti-diabetic effect: even though this effect may look unimportant at first it is actually quite relevant since it increases the feeling of satiety after a meal

Study about its fat burning effect

Although we may think that the dose of EGCG in that study was too low. We need a higher dose to experience its fat burning effects. This has actually been proven in another study:

Said study compared the effects in 4 groups while fasting:

  • 1st Group: 300mg of EGCG
  • 2nd Group: 600mg of EGCG
  • 3rd Group: 200mg of caffeine
  • 4th Group: 300mg of EGCG + 200mg of caffeine

We want to emphasize that the groups were made randomly and double blind. This means that both the researcher and the patient did not know what they were taking in order to avoid subjective results.

These were the results:

Graphic fat

As we can see in the graphic, there are 2 important facts:

  1. The dose of EGCG of the first study was not enough to produce a fat burning effect.
  2. The combination of green tea + caffeine increases the fat burning processes of the body more than a 30%.

Study about green tea + caffeine

This effect on the fat metabolism is not only observed in this study, but also in others like this one:

Where the researchers observed how the group that took green tea increased the thermogenesis in a 35% in 24h. Moreover, they also found that this effect was 20% higher than taking just caffeine. This is why we want to emphasize the importance of the previous point:

Taking green tea + caffeine is a great combo to burn body fat

In that same study was also observed how those who took green tea had higher levels of noradrenaline in the urine. This means that green tea can inhibit the breakdown of said hormone, which has a great effect on fat loss.

Study about weight loss

As we have seen in these studies, its fat burning effect has been repeatedly proven. However, we still need to know if this supports weight loss processes too.

The response to said question can be found in this meta-analysis:

In it, the participants who took green tea lost 1.38kg and almost 2cm more than those who took the placebo.

We could say that the fat burning effects is connected with weight loss in those who take green tea.

Many things have been written about theine and catechins from green tea to achieve a thermogenic effect that stimulates weight and fat loss.

Quite recently, there was a review of the most relevant studies from 2000 to test the magnitude of these effects on obese and overweight people for at least 12 weeks.

Results

Starting with:

  • Age = 18-60 years
  • Sex = both
  • BMI = 25 and 40 kg/m2
Weight lossBMI reductionFat % reduction
Asian individuals-0.81kg-0.65-0.76%
Caucasian individuals-0.73kg-0.21-0.76%
All the races-0.78kg-0.31-0.76%

Green tea does not produce a significant effect

The results reveal that taking green tea or its extracts (catechins and theine) does not produce a statistically or clinically significant effect on the weight and physical composition of overweight or obese adults between 18 and 60 years of age.

Therefore, according to the scientific evidence, taking green tea does not seem to be very effective to lose weight.

But there is still more…

The main limitation of this study is that it was conducted on obese and overweight people. But, what would happen with physically active people with a normal weight?

The adaptations to exercise of overweight and obese people are more noticeable and losing weight or fat is easier too.

Going from a 25% to a 20% of fat is easier than going from a 12% to a 7%.

Therefore, the effect of xanthins and caffeine is almost unappreciated.

However,

Let’s take people with a normal weight, who do physical exercise and who have a 10% of body fat. The green tea extract could help to reduce the fat in a 1-2%, which would be statistically significant in this case.

Conclusion

Green tea supplementation is an effective therapy if we want to increase fat loss lightly, both for sedentary and active people. The latter can increase the use of fat in a 17% during physical exercise if they take a green tea pre-workout supplement:

The lowest dose of EGCG to increase the fat loss has to be around 300mg. Combine it with 200-250mg of caffeine 30 minutes before training. You can either take it on an empty or full stomach.

Green tea in weight loss diets

Today, there are many clinical studies which back up tea as a catabolism and fat burning stimulant. Most researchers seem to believe that catechins are the substances responsible for the fat burning effect.

But some experts claim that the efficacy of green tea for weight loss occurs when we take it within the two hours after the main meal of the day.

If we speak about doses, there is evidence that a daily dose of 300mg of epigallocatechin or EGCG enhances the beta-oxidation of fats.

On the other hand, as we previously said in previous sections, caffeine is one of the biologically active substances of green tea. Even if this drink does not provide the same amount as coffee, it contains enough caffeine to produce its effects on the body like: stimulating the nervous system, fat burning and the physical performance.

About this last effect, we would like to add that there was a study that reported very interesting results. The participants took green tea every day for a month while they did physical exercise with weights. What happened was that the they experienced a significant muscle increase and their metabolic rate while resting improved as well.

How does EGCG work

In this context, we should not overlook the working mechanism of epigallocatechin galate. Basically, it inhibits the enzyme that breaks the noradrenaline molecule, which is a hormone released by the adrenal glands. The blood noradrenaline levels increase, since said enzyme is denatured and unable to perform its metabolic function. The specific receptors located in the nervous system will take advantage of this fact, sending a signal to the adipocytes, which are the cells that store fat, to break them down. To sum up, having more noradrenaline results in a constant fat burning stimulus.

The cells that store fat accelerate their breakdown process. Consequently, they release more triglycerides to the blood flow so that other cells that demand more energy can take advantage of them, such as the muscle cells.

Let’s not forget that epigallocatechin galate and caffeine work in synergy, since the latter enhances the former and vice versa.

Other uses of green tea for our health

Detoxifying drink

Everyone knows that drinking tea has a diuretic effect. This is due to the fact that it increases the urine production, improving the excretion of toxins.

Green tea bags

This effect also affects the liver, on which green tea also has a stimulating effect. Consuming this type of tea regularly is a good way of keeping our organism clean and preserving our health.

A remedy against anxiety

The L-theanine amino acid produces a relaxing effect due to the fact that it affects the central nervous system.

Relief for skin rash, psoriasis and vitiligo

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties for our health, green tea is a good resource to relieve skin irritation and reddening. Take two bags of green tea, a glass of water and cotton pads and follow these steps:

  • Boil the water and put the tea bags in it.
  • Let it settle for fifteen minutes and then put it in the fridge.
  • Once it is cold, soak the cotton pad and apply it to the affected area. Make sure that your skin is clean before doing this step.
  • The cotton pad should remain on the affected skin for ten minutes.

Apart from this, it can lower the risk of dry skin and allergies. Nevertheless, its most interesting benefit is against two pathologies:

  • Psoriasis: it is an autoimmune disease. Using green tea topically can relieve the irritation that it causes, which helps to remove the sick cells that proliferate in skin that is affected by psoriasis.
  • Vitiligo: another autoimmune disease that produces white patches of skin. This is due to the fact that the melanocytes are attacked by our own immune system and they are unable to produce melanin. In this case, drinking green tea will help to protect the defensive cells.

Dental health

There is research that states that those people between the age of 40 and 64 which drink at least one cup of green tea daily lowers the risk of losing teeth. It seems that the catechins are responsible for this preventive effect.

There are also mouth washes that contain green tea in order to benefit from this property for our health.

Treatment for sunburns

It has been proven that applying green tea on the skin protects it against the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. To do this, you just have to soak a bandage in green tea infusion.

You can drink it a few weeks before sunbathing to benefit from its epigallocatechin galate content.

Cosmetic products

Less wrinkles

The powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin galate neutralizes the metalloproteinase. This enzyme hydrolyzes the collagen, deteriorating the skin elasticity, which is closely related to the amount of collagen. Using green tea extract ointments and creams regularly can delay the effects of premature aging.

Facial scrub

You can clean your face with green tea steam. You just have to boil some water and add the green tea leaves. Get your face close to the recipient to get all the benefits of the steam for five minutes.

Green tea body scrub

Against eye bags

Tea also contains particles of a group of polyphenols called tanins. They have a strong astringent effect and, therefore, they are capable of stretching living tissue such as the skin. That is why putting the tea bags over the eyes can relieve the edema and stretch the skin of this area.

Acne treatment

Due to all the anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties of green tea, it can help to control acne. It is useful to purchase creams or lotions which include green tea extract. Moreover, you can even rub green tea leaves on the most affected areas and rinse immediately afterwards.

To eliminate the smell of feet and armpits

Soaking your feet in an infusion with a lot of green tea is a useful remedy against smell. This is mainly due to the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of this plant that we have previously mentioned. If you want to treat the armpits, rub water with green tea at room temperature, since this area is more sensitive.

Other uses

Reducing the humidity

It is a fact that the Camellia sinensis are hygroscopic, that is, they absorb the humidity. You can take a bunch of leaves and put them inside a cotton bag. Then, you just have to hang it somewhere where you want them to remove the humidity.

Elimination of bad smells in the fridge

Sometimes, when we open the fridge, there is an unpleasant smell. Putting a bunch of green tea leaves inside a thin cloth bag can help to fix this issue. The leaves will do its work by deodorizing the fridge.

Fertilizer

Since green tea is rich in antioxidant substances, we can produce an excellent fertilizer by soaking green tea leaves for several days. Then, you just have to take the leaves out and take the remaining liquid rich in antioxidants to water the plants.

Side effects and contraindications

As we have seen, green tea is extremely beneficial for our health due to all its therapeutic properties. However, it can cause contraindications and side effects.

Side effects

  • Green tea contains caffeine, even though it has less than coffee. Exceeding the recommended intake (around 200 milligrams daily) can trigger hypertension, vomits, nervousness, sleep problems, headaches, dizziness or convulsions.
  • It could trigger constipation or gastric acidity, caused by the tanins. Take it on an empty stomach to prevent these symptoms.
  • Green tea hinders the iron absorption. In the long term, this could lead to an iron deficiency and consequently anemia. Another reason why we should take it on an empty stomach.
  • There have been some cases of side effects on the liver after taking green tea capsules.

Side effects caused by an excess

Like we said before, the recommended daily intake of caffeine is around 200 milligrams. This would equal 5 cups of green tea.
If we exceed this amount, we run the risk of suffering one of the following health problems:
  • Stomach acidity, nausea and vomits.
  • Confusion, dizziness and headaches.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Convulsions and/or tremors.
  • High blood pressure and arrhythmia.
Green tea against insomnia

Who should not take green tea by any means?

  • Pregnant and lactating women. There is not enough evidence to ensure that there is no risk for the health of the baby. It is believed that it could alter its central nervous system.
  • Children. Its high caffeine content is the reason why it should be avoided during childhood. It could trigger hyperactivity and insomnia.
  • It interacts with sibutramine, a drug used for obesity treatment. However, there could be other drugs that also run this risk but which is still unknown. If you are taking any medication consult your doctor before taking green tea.
  • If you suffer gastric acidity or gastrointestinal ulcers, green tea could make matters worse.
  • People with heart diseases, hypertension, renal or hepatic disorders or anxiety.
  • Anemia or glaucoma patients should consult their doctor first.

Advice about its consumption

Some green tea capsules contain an excessive polyphenol content, especially epigallocatechin galate, between 10 and 750mg per unit.

An average consumer should not take more than 10mg of green tea extract per kg of body weight. That is, if you weigh 70kg you should not take more than 700mg of extract.

We suggest you to avoid using sugar or artificial sweeteners since it could alter its properties. Moreover, adding sweet flavors in general adds unnecessary calories.

There can be differences between brands based on the quality of the tea leaves. We advise brands that only use natural ingredients. Avoid those that use preservatives and other additives.

A tip when it comes to preparing a tea infusion is to pour the boiling water on the cup before the bubbles start to appear. Then, let it settle for 3 or 4 minutes.

You can also use green tea extract to improve the intake/benefits relation. Because you will just need 1ml of extract to enjoy the same benefits of 8 or 10 cups of green tea.

Food supplements available in the market

Most of the green tea food supplements are sold in capsule format. There are also liquid extracts made of leaves and sprouts and decaf and instant formulas too.

In general, the epigallocatechin galate content is the one that is usually extracted, since it is one of the most beneficial ingredients. It is purified and put in the capsule, and it is as effective as drinking a tea infusion.

When it comes to manufacturing capsules, there are mainly two types:

  • Standardized extracts, which have a higher quality and they are made by drying the leaves. This type of food supplement is available in specialized stores only.
  • Industrial products that extract the catechins from the leaves.

If you end up choosing capsules, the best thing to do is purchasing them in specialized stores. Their concentration should avoid exceeding the recommended daily amount of catechins depending on the body weight.

Green tea infusion

Some interesting combinations

Green tea with cinnamon

Cinnamon is an ingredient that is frequently combined with other food and drinks due to its unique flavor. However, it is also rich in antioxidants and other active ingredients such as minerals (calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc) and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C. That is why this ingredient has a good synergy with green tea.

Some of its benefits for health which it shares with green tea are:

  • Improving the digestion by enhancing the stomach ability to absorb nutrients.
  • Controlling fungal infections.
  • Having vasodilating, anti-congestive and regulating properties for menstrual bleeding.
  • Regulating the cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Treating type 1 diabetes. This is due to the fact that people believe that there is an unknown mechanism related to the polyphenols. It increases the insulin sensitivity so that it regulates the glucose levels.

Green tea with lemon and honey

The citrus juice make the antioxidants from green tea more available, especially the catechins. This improves their absorption when they go from the stomach to the small intestine. These molecules are affected by the contrast between the gastric acid environment and the alkaline intestine where the nutrients are absorbed. The lemon juice increases the amount of catechins in green tea six times. Consequently, this improves their utilization quite significantly.

Lemon counters the inhibition of the iron absorption that we mentioned previously.

When it comes to the honey, its combination with tea is an excellent natural remedy against the symptoms of colds.

Interesting green tea combinations for breakfast

It can make a good breakfast if we combine it with foods like:

  • Melon: a highly diuretic and antioxidant combo.
  • Passionflower pulp and orange juice.
  • Peach and matcha green tea: great satiating effect.
  • Matcha green tea and red fruits: an antioxidant blend with half a cup of raspberries, another half of cranberries, one of water and another of tea.
Throughout this article, we have explained why this product has become an indispensable element in preventive natural medicine. Its main objective is to protect our body against the free radicals which oxidize the cell membranes.

That is why this is a drink that should become part of any healthy diet, except for certain side effects and contraindications.

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