Green Tea and Weight loss

The Essential Guide to Green Tea

The wonders of green tea are well researched and documented, and are becoming wider known as a result.

Among the numerous benefits that drinking green tea has, the most interesting for those of us who are trying to lose weight is its weight loss and body fat burning properties.

In this essential guide to green tea, we'll explore these benefits and more, and provide you with all the other vital information you need to make green tea a part of your healthy diet and weight loss plan.

What is Green Tea?

Basically green tea is the least processed of four different types of tea; green, oolong, black and white, all of which come for the Camellia sinensis bush.

Unlike the other tea variants, green tea leaves are steamed.

Processing them in this way preserves the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a powerful antioxidant that gives green tea many of its health properties.

Camellia sinensis has many different varieties and because things such as that the region it comes from and the climate and soil it was grown in all influence the characteristics of the tea produced, there are numerous varieties of green tea.

Generally speaking, the best green teas come from Japan and China.

The most popular varieties of Japanese green tea include:

  • Sencha.
  • Gyokurocha.
  • Bancha.
  • Mat'cha.

Because China is a very large country with many different regions (known as provinces) there are a very large range of Chinese green teas.

The most popular varieties of Chinese green tea include:

  • Dragon Well (also called Lung Ching or Long Jing).
  • Hui Ming.
  • Long Ding.
  • Hua Ding.
  • Qing Ding.
  • Gunpowder.

In addition to Japan and China, good quality green teas also come from countries like Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka.

Herbal Teas

Because of the health benefits of green teas and their growing popularity in the western-world, many companies now produce and sell a range of hot-water infusions made with herbs.

These infusions are often called "teas" for marketing purposes but they are technically not teas because they are not from the Camellia sinensis plant.

While these herbal teas aren't green teas and may not have the same health benefits as green teas they may have other benefits.

Green Tea and weight loss

Many research studies have shown that drinking green tea can have a positive effect on our body weight as well as on our general health.

These studies indicate that green tea helps us shed unwanted kilos by helping to:

  1. Increase our metabolism (burn more calories/kilojoules throughout the day).
  2. Increase our body's ability to burn fat (fat oxidation).

While some of green tea's effect on our metabolism is known to come from the caffeine it contains, green tea doesn't have as much caffeine as coffee but helps the body burn more energy than coffee, so we know that the effect doesn't just come down to its caffeine levels.

Other Health Benefits of Green Tea

As well as helping us to lose weight, green tea is believed to have many other health benefits.

Among the most impressive of these, green tea is said to help:

  • Reduce our risk of developing many forms of cancer.
  • Inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  • Lower total cholesterol levels.
  • Improve the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Help reduce the risk and treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Reduce the risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease.
  • Treat impaired immune function.
  • Help prevent tooth decay.
  • Prevent food poisoning.

In order to enjoy these health benefits and others, researchers recommend drinking green tea on a regular basis.

In fact, many recommend drinking between 5 and 10 cups per day to get the full benefits from drinking green teas.

Is green tea good for everyone?

It is thought that not everyone should drink green tea or large quantities of green tea like those recommended by many researchers.

Because green tea does contain relatively high amounts of caffeine, it has been recommended that anyone with the following conditions speak with their doctor before starting to consume green teas:

  • Heart problems or high blood pressure.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
  • An anxiety or nervous disorder.
  • Bleeding or blood clotting disorder.
  • Any condition requiring you to take blood thinning drugs.
  • Plant related allergies.
  • If you are pregnant or could become pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding a baby.

Because green tea contains relatively large amounts of caffeine it has been suggested that it is not appropriate for consumption by children either.

In addition to avoiding green tea if you suffer from any of the medical conditions listed above, anyone taking medication should also consult their doctor before starting to consume green tea to make sure it is compatible with the drugs they are taking.

People who don't take medication or have any of the conditions listed above can still experience the following negative side-effects if they consume too much caffeine (including that contained in green tea):

  • Irritability.
  • Insomnia.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Dizziness.

Buying, Storing and Brewing Green Tea

Getting the most benefits from green tea often means buying, storing and preparing it well.

When it comes to buying green teas, cost can not only reflect the quality of the tea, but also its rarity.

If you're new to drinking green tea, it's probably best to try some of the more moderately priced full-flavored teas first. If in doubt about which variety to try, ask your local herbalist who should be more than happy to make some recommendations.

Unless their convenience is absolutely critical to you, it is best to avoid tea bags which often contain at least some amounts of lower grade tea.

Storing green tea well is important if you want it to retain its taste, freshness and health properties.

As a general guide it is recommended that you keep your green teas in:

  • Airtight tea tins or airtight glass jars.
  • Cool, dark environments (such as cupboards).
  • Areas away from aromatic foods (because green teas absorb aromas easily).

Most green teas don't store well for more than around six months, so it's better to buy small quantities more regularly than it is to buy large quantities less frequently.

To prepare a fine cup of green tea it's always best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for each variety.

Having said that, here are some general things to consider:

  • The quantity of tea leaves - most green tea experts suggest using about 2 to 4g of tea per cup.
  • Water - fresh spring water is ideal.
  • Brewing method - brewing green tea in a pot is best, letting the leaves float freely.
  • Infusion temperature - green tea is best brewed in water that has only just begun to form bubbles.
  • Brewing time - most green teas should be brewed for no longer than 1½ to 3 minutes.

For those of us who don't particularly like the taste of green tea, the good news is that adding lemon, sugar or milk to improve its taste doesn't seem to affect the antioxidant levels of the tea and therefore shouldn't remove any of the health benefits associated with drinking it.

Just remember though if you are watching your waist line that adding things like sugar and milk will add extra calories/kilojoules.

Conclusion

The wonders of green tea are well researched and documented, and are becoming wider known as a result.

Among the numerous benefits that drinking green tea has, the most interesting for visitors of this website are those that relate to helping us lose weight and burn body fat.

In this essential guide to green tea, we explored these and other benefits and provided you with all the other bits of important information you need to make green tea a part of your healthy diet and weight loss plan.

Good luck with your weight loss and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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