TIME FOR TEA?

Know Your Supplements – Green Tea

 

 

Ni Hao there fellow fitness enthusiast, and welcome to another injection of supplement knowledge!

 

Today on the agenda is green tea, something that many people shrug off as something only the elderly, or Chinese drink. Well, jokes on the masses really, because green tea is a fantastic little drink/supplement that yields a wide variety of benefits to the body as well as the mind! And I’m here to tell you exactly what some of those benefits are!

But before i start, lets look at a little history of green tea.

 

The history of green tea began in China. It is possible to find references to green tea in Chinese literature as far back as 5000 years ago. There is an old Chinese legend that says a man was out walking one day when he accidentally tasted the juices from a leaf of a tea plant. He though it tasted great and even felt the tea had special medicinal properties. He decided it would be a good idea to create a drink by mixing it with water. This man was called Shien Non Shei.

 

 

As with all ancient history there are different stories to be told. Another legend suggests it was actually an Emperor called Shen Nung who discovered tea when a tea blossom fell into a cup of hot water he was drinking.

 

Maybe these two men were even one in the same person. Whichever story is true I don’t know but thankfully it was discovered!

The benefits

 

There are a huge number of benefits that are thought to be linked to the consumption of green tea, so i am only going to discuss the ones which i feel are the most rewarding, researched and important.

 

Weight loss

 

This is probably the main reason why people consume green tea. Over the last 10 years or so, the consumption of green tea as a fat burner has grown tremendously popular. And along with the general popularity of green tea, the research has ramped up also; in most casing justifying the positive effect that this tea has on the metabolism.

 

In a study reported on in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that green tea extract resulted in a significant increase in energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism), plus also had a significant effect on fat o xidation. While some of the effects were originally theorized to be due to the caffeine content of green tea, the researchers discovered that the tea actually has properties that go beyond those that would be explained by the caffeine. The same amount of caffeine as was in the green tea, administered alone, failed to change energy expenditure in other studies. This led researchers to believe that there is some interaction going on with the active ingredients of green tea that promotes increased metabolism and fat oxidation.

 

The researchers indicated that their findings have substantial implications for weight control. A 4% overall increase in 24-hour energy expenditure was attributed to the green tea extract, however, the research found that the extra expenditure took place during the daytime. This led them to conclude that, since thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) contributes 8-10% of daily energy expenditure in a typical subject, that this 4% overall increase in energy expenditure due to the green tea actually translated to a 35-43% increase in daytime thermogenesis.

 

Cancer prevention

 

Other studies also indicate that the powerful anti-oxidant in green tea known as a catechin, can actually combat and block the development of cancer!

 

The way in which catechins do this is by eating up free radicals within the body. Free radicals are essential unstable atoms or molecules that have unpaired electrons. They are primarily caused by the burning of energy, however UV light (the sun) and toxins in things such as cigarettes also cause free radicals to form. Free radicals are of a nature that they seek to “re-pair” their open shell configuration and become stable by stealing an electron from another atom. The down side to this is that when a free radical steals an electr on from another atom, not only is cellular damage caused, but the pillaged atom then becomes the free radical. Thus starts a vicious cycle starts, where free radicals are endlessly bouncing around the body, causing damage and new free radicals to form. This can cause mutations in cellular makeup, aging, and can contribute towards cancer growth.

 

To combat these free radicals, anti-oxidants are are needed! Anti-oxidants such as catechins will donate one of their electrons to the free radical without becoming unstable themselves. This will put a halt to the vicious cycle of free radical damage, and as studies have found, will potentially reduce your risk of cancer development.

 

This makes green tea a very valuable supplement in its own right. Everyone is looking for ways to stay healthy and avoid illness. And green tea could be one the ways in which you can help your body do exactly that.

 

Relaxation

 

Another benefit (although not widely researched), is that green tea has been found to have a positive effect on anxiety and depression. An amino acid called L-Theanine is found within green tea, and its effects seem to be rewarding for mental health.

 

Research on human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine may create a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms. First, this amino acid directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Second, L-theanine is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA).

 

GABA influences the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, producing the key relaxation effect.

 

 

How much should i be taking?

 

This all really depends on how you plan to get your green tea. If you are looking at consuming it in tea form, you are going to need to drink a high quantity to get a good dosage of anti-oxidants. Studies have shown that from about 7 cups onwards, you will start to see and fee the results more significantly than consuming say 3-5 cups. Green tea, is however, much of an acquired taste i think, so you may struggle to hold down 7 cups a day!

 

The other method of getting the benefits from green tea, is of course supplementation. Green tea supplements really do vary in their dosage amounts, varying anywhere from 200mg capsules, to whopping 1000mg capsules. I would always suggest that you read the recommended dosage amount, and not exceed it.

 

One thing you need to look for when it comes to green tea supplements, its the polyphenol percentage. Polyphenols make up the majority of green teas health promoting effects, however some supplement stores (usually the highly commercialised ones) use very little percentage of this quality ingredient. Typically i would suggest that you look for a green tea capsule that contains no less than 70% polyphenols. The strongest i have seen to date it 98% polyphenols, which is guaranteed to yield the best results. Whats even better is that the dosage is lower due to the high potency; meaning you don’t really need to take more than one capsule a day.

 

Summary

 

Well there you have it, a little information on Green tea and how it can benefit your every day life. We’ve seen that it can help burn fat, prevent cancer and other disease, and also help you maintain a healthy, focused but relaxed mind.

As mentioned, it is recommended that you always check the label of supplements you buy, to make sure you are getting the best value for money.

Written By Alex Lawrence

Activhealth Fitness Centre Member

~ by admin on January 1, 2017.

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