The Mighty Green Tea

Green Tea.

Hey, guys, this is a short post to highlight a few of the numerous health benefits of green tea. Really, if I were to make a post on all of the health benefits of green tea then I might as well write a textbook. I know green tea has been in the spot light for a long time and it’s been pounded into our heads on how great this stuff is. And I’m here to drive it into your head even more. 


In this blog post you will probably learn something new, perhaps why it’s good for us or even how to brew it correctly. In bullet style, I’m going to catch you guys up on some of my favorite reasons to drink this dried leaf. 

  • One cup of green tea burns 5 grams of fat (1) – Yes, you read that correctly. Here, allow me to do the math for you real fast: say you drink three cups of green tea per day for the next year, that adds up to burning over 12 lbs of extra fat. That’s a lot, yeah? The caffeine that green tea contains (around 30 mg per 6 oz) releases some of your body’s catecholimines, like epinephrine, and this helps release the contents of fat cells into the blood stream. When this happens, your muscle's energy expenditure increases, thus you burn more calories (from fat). Catechins that are found in green tea (around 250 mg per 6 oz) make this process run faster and smoother. There are enzymes that breakdown catecholamines, and catechins inhibits this enzyme so that the catecholamines can do their job better and longer. Catechins also active hormone-sensitive lipase, an enzyme, within the fat cells that breaks down fats into its usable energy form – free fatty acids. This means a whole lot more fat burning (and available energy).

 

  • Green Tea inhibits the synthesis of cortisol, a stress hormone (2) – Are you currently stressed? The answer to that, I’m guessing, would probably be yes. Green tea can help lower the amount of cortisol your body synthesizes. Cortisol, first, is a steroid hormone that is pumped out of your adrenals when you are in a stressed state. Although it’s needed in fair amounts, our bodies can over-produce cortisol if we are under chronic stress. EGCG, found in green tea, can inhibit 11-beta-HSD-1, an enzyme that converts cortisone (inactive hormone) into cortisol. This is good news because when we inhibit 11-beta-HSD-1 we can decrease abdominal fat, become more sensitive to insulin, improve cholesterol and blood pressure markers. Chalk it up to green tea to help treat metabolic syndrome.

 

  • When should you drink green tea? (3) (4)– Green tea has the greatest impact on health when consumed on an empty stomach. There was research done to find out when it would be the best time to consume green tea. We know that green tea is good for us, but how can we make sure we are getting the most out of it when we do consume it? These studies looked at optimizing your green tea effectiveness. Subjects drank their green tea with and without foods to see how much EGCG (one of the main bioactive substances in green tea) they absorbed.  It turns out that drinking your tea in the morning, on an empty stomach, has the best absorption rates for EGCG. The reason for this is two-fold; the protein in food easily deactivates polyphenols (like EGCG) and the bicarbonate that is produced by the pancreas neutralizes EGCG.

 

  • Green tea rejuvenates the skin and protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation (5) – Green tea can improve the circulation in the skin and increase oxygen to skin cells. In this study on skin and green tea, they saw that the increases in blood flow in the skin can improve nutrient and oxygen supply. This improved delivery, from green tea flavanols, can protect skin conditioning, structure and appearance from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

 

  • Drinking green tea with a meal can make you eat less (6) – Even though drinking green tea on an empty stomach has the most health benefits, drinking it during a meal has one specific benefit – it makes it easier to eat less. Green tea can increase satiety, causing you to eat less. This is good news given that tea can help you not overeat, but it can also make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

 

  • Green tea makes you more sensitive to insulin (7) – EGCG, maybe the most important bioactive part of the tea, causes muscles cells to be more sensitive to insulin. This is a really good thing, guys. This means that muscle cells are better able to absorb glucose and use that glucose as energy. And when your muscle cells are able to store and use that glucose, your fat cells don’t get to join in on the glucose-eating party. This, in part, is what can lower your chance of developing type II diabetes.

What type of tea should I use?

A good cup of green tea starts with high quality leaves, having said this, all green tea is not created equal. Just as a rule of thumb when it comes to tea, most (not all) teas that are already bagged are of lower quality. Try to consume green tea that is loose leaf (like you see in the photo). Loose leaf comes out to being cheaper than bagged tea and you get to control how much tea you want and if you want to mix your teas. You can use any number 4 cone coffee filter to steep your tea in. Also, buy organic. Organic loose leaf tea is of much higher quality than those that aren’t organic and the price difference is minimal. I like to shop local and our local Kansas City tea guru company is Hugo Tea Co.

Why do I love it?

Other than the numerous health benefits of green tea, it provides a lower amount of caffeine than coffee does, and because I’m sensitive to caffeine, tea is my go-to for a cognitive boost. The caffeine effect that you get from green tea is different than coffee because green tea has l-theanine in it. L-theanine is an amino acid analog that increases serotonin, dopamine and GABA in the brain. It plays a synergistic role with caffeine and can reduce mental and physical stress and improve cognitive performance. I like to brew a cup first thing in the morning and then have another cup midday.

Now that you know a few new reasons to drink green tea, let’s discuss how to brew the perfect cup.

  1. Heat water to 180 degrees. This is before the water starts to boil. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to use an electric hot water kettle.
  2. Grab a mug and fill a number 4 cone coffee filter with 2 grams of green tea (this is slightly more than a teaspoon).
  3. Steep the tea for 4 minutes and make sure to not over steep.

And that’s it! Getting a healthful boost is fast and easy.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT GREEN TEA?

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TYPE OF GREEN TEA?


  1.           Hursel, R., W. Viechtbauer, A. Dulloo, A. Tremblay, L. Tappy, W. Rumpler, and M. Westerterp-Plantenga. "The Effects of Catechin Rich Teas and Caffeine on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation: A Meta-analysis." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Mar. 2011. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
  2.            Hintzpeter, J., C. Stapelfeld, C. Loerz, HJ Martin, and E. Maser. "Green Tea and One of Its Constituents, Epigallocatechine-3-gallate, Are Potent Inhibitors of Human 11β-hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
  3.            Naumovski, N.; Blades, B.L.; Roach, P.D. Food Inhibits the Oral Bioavailability of the Major Green Tea Antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate in Humans. Antioxidants 2015, 4, 373-393.
  4.            Hursel, Rick, and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. "Green tea catechin plus caffeine supplementation to a high-protein diet has no additional effect on body weight maintenance after weight loss." The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.3 (2009): 822-830.
  5.           Heinrich, Ulrike, et al. "Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women." The Journal of nutrition 141.6 (2011): 1202-1208.
  6.           Josic, Julija, et al. "Does green tea affect postprandial glucose, insulin and satiety in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial." Nutrition journal 9.1 (2010): 1.
  7.           Jung, Kyung Hee, et al. "Epigallocatechin gallate stimulates glucose uptake through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-mediated pathway in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells." Journal of medicinal food 11.3 (2008): 429-434.