We have all heard others talking about the great health benefits of green tea. Few of us, until recently, have known that green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at lest 4,000 years to treat everything from pain to depression. Recent scientific research in Japan and other Asian countries have given us a better idea of just how green tea provides health benefits, especially for weight loss and maintenance.
Green tea contains high concentations of catechin polyphenols which increase fat oxidation and thermogenesis. Thermogenenesis is heat created in our bodies by burning fuels such as fat. The thermogenesis that green tea creates was at first thought to be because of its caffeine. Research has shown that green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis with far more effectiveness than an equal amount of caffeine alone. The catechin plyphenols contained in green tea, especially epigallocatecin gallate, EGCG, works with caffeine synergistically to stimulate thermogenesis and prolong sympathetic thermogenesis. Research has shown that green tea increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation during a whole 24 hour period whereas caffeine only increases metabolism at the time it is ingested. Green tea helps burn an extra 78 calories per day.
We gain weight because excess sugars and fats are stored in our fat cells. Green tea inhibits the movement of glucose, i.e. excess sugars and fats, in fat cells. Green tea also causes carbohydrates to be released more slowly therefore preventing spikes in blood insulin levels which can produce false hunger feelings. For a long time researchers have wondered why the French have fewer excess weight concerns and heart disease concerns since the French diet is so rich in fats. Their answer was that the resveratrol, a polyphenol, found in red wine limited the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. The University of Kansas found that the EGCG in green tea is twice as powerful as resveratrol found in red wine.
It has been found that epigallocateching gallate, EGCG, contained in green tea is at least 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E in protecting cells and DNA from damage. This makes green tea one of the most powerful antioxidants available. Antioxidants have been shown to fight viruses and slow the aging process. EGCG is very effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Green tea has been shown to relax blood vessels which is also important for the prevention of heart attack and stroke. The powerful antioxidant content of green tea because of its high amounts of polyphenols and flavenoids greatly strengthens our immune system and slows the aging process.
EGCG contained in green tea inhibits the grown of cancer cells and kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. The National Cancer Research Institute of Tokyo suggests that green tea may be a very effective way of preventing cancer.. Green tea has been shown to lower all types of cancers, especially in digestive and urinary tracts. Green tea applied topically has been shown to protect skin against cancer and actually slow the progress of skin cancer that is already present. Green tea is being used more and more in topical natural skin care products. Green tea has been shown to benefit white blood cells during chemotherapy treatment.