It seems like every day there’s a new natural remedy being touted by magazines, doctors, and even your best friend. But green tea doesn’t seem to be a passing fad: It’s been consumed all over Asia for centuries, and over the past decade tons of research has linked green tea to a myriad of health benefits, from lower blood pressure and blood sugar to less belly fat. (Heal your whole body with Rodale’s 12-day liver detox for total body health!)
Because green tea isn’t processed very much, it’s loaded with catechins—a type of antioxidant that fights free radicals and repairs damaged cells. Catechins also seem to play a role in weight management: One study found that people who drank green tea lowered their body fat percentage and body mass index in just 12 weeks.
I’ve struggled with my weight for years, and while I know that limiting portions and exercising is most important, I’d certainly welcome a little extra help. Plus, who wouldn’t want to lower their risk of dreaded conditions like heart disease and cancer? I decided to drink at least one cup of green tea every day for a month to see if I’d notice any difference in my health. Here’s what happened over the course of 30 days.
I learned how to make great iced tea.
When most people think of drinking tea, they might imagine sitting in a chair and sipping a hot beverage. While that sounds great and relaxing, I’m a busy mom of a toddler, and I don’t get to do a lot of sitting still. So rather than risk burning myself while rushing around, I opted to make large batches of iced tea that I stored in the refrigerator. (Avoid the temptation to buy the pre-bottled stuff.)
Plain green tea can be kind of bitter, but there’s an easy fix: You can buy flavored green tea, or you can flavor it yourself. I had a lot of fun experimenting on my own. I’d brew a large pot of green tea and add honey, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, or berries, all of which majorly improved the taste (and have health benefits of their own) without adding a lot of calories. My favorite combination was green tea infused with cinnamon, berries, and a little honey. Yum.
I consumed much less aspartame.
My drink of choice is normally water, but when I do crave something with a bit more flavor I usually reach for sugar-free iced tea—but by sugar-free, I really mean artificially sweetened with aspartame. As someone who chooses not to eat many artificial or processed foods, I never feel good about putting aspartame into my body, but I’ve never really enjoyed drinking unsweetened iced tea. Once I figured out how to flavor my iced green tea without adding a lot of sweeteners (see above!), it became my go-to beverage whenever I was craving something other than water.
MORE: 8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda
I didn’t catch a cold.
I started drinking green tea in mid-September, just as the change of seasons was bringing a wave of colds and other viruses to my home in New England. Three weeks into my experiment, my daughter and husband both came down with a terrible cold and sore throat. My toddler was the sickest she had ever been, and even ended up in the hospital with dehydration. Yet somehow I managed not to get sick. Was it the antioxidant power of green tea? I’d like to think so; I drank a few extra cups that week.
MORE: Exactly What To Eat When You Have A Cold Or Flu
I paid more attention to my overall health.
Although I had only committed to drinking one glass of green tea a day, that tiny resolution kept me thinking more about my health in general. With wellness top of mind, it was easier to make other healthy choices (including dietary ones) throughout the day.
I learned how to unwind without wine.
On weekend nights, when my daughter is in bed and my husband and I are still up chatting, I used to pour myself a glass of wine. Once I started the tea experiment, I swapped the wine for a hot cup of tea—and I realized how relaxing it is to sit down with a steamy beverage at the end of the day. Once I understood the stress-relieving perks of hot tea first-hand, I could no longer justify the calories in the wine (or the headache it would probably give me the next day).
MORE: 6 Sneaky Signs You Drink Too Much
I lost a little weight, but I’m not sure it was the green tea.
During the month I was drinking green tea I did shed a few pounds, but I didn’t lose any more than I had been every month since I started eating healthier and exercising consistently. Sadly, I wouldn’t count on green tea for a fat-burning boost.
Still, I can say without a doubt that drinking green tea has benefits: It helped me ditch artificial sweeteners and wine, and generally kept me in a healthy mindset. And while my month-long experiment is now up, I’m sure I’ll still pour myself a cup whenever I’m craving a flavorful drink because it tastes so good. My toddler—who likes to copy everything her mom does—even drinks a little on occasion, though I won’t let her have much because it does have some caffeine.
Is green tea a magical potion that solves all health woes? Absolutely not. But I do think it can be one piece of the puzzle of living a healthy lifestyle.
Kelly Burch Kelly Burch is a freelance writer and editor living in New Hampshire.
- Is It Possible to Drink Too Much Green Tea?
- How Much Green Tea Should You Drink In A Day
- How Much Green Tea Should I Drink?
- What are the health benefits associated with green tea?
- How much green tea should you drink?
- How much is too much?
- Different varieties of green tea
- Nutritional highlights
- How much caffeine does green tea contain?
- How to prepare green tea
- Can green tea affect iron levels?
- Green tea recipes
- Enjoyed this? Now try…
- 6 Reasons Why Green Tea is Good For You
- Related Posts
Is It Possible to Drink Too Much Green Tea?
By Susi May
Between its metabolism-boosting powers and ability to prevent colds, green tea is a miracle in your mug. While there are several reasons to sip it each day, many wonder if one glass alone can provide you with the acclaimed benefits. Before you go to town guzzling, learn if it’s possible to have too much of a good thing (the results may surprise you).
If you find yourself drinking a cup or two of green tea a day, you’re doing things right! Dr. Zuo Feng Zhang, a cancer epidemiology researcher at UCLA, and the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend two to three teacups (not mugs) a day, which will prove beneficial to your health.
Read more at POPSUGAR:
- Cool Off — and Caffeiante! — With 3 Iced Green Tea Recipes
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- Boost Your Metabolism With This 10-Minute Workout
However, drinking up to five cups a day has been shown to decrease risk for stomach cancer. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight and to boost your metabolism, the best results have been seen with drinking seven cups a day (this study, though, has not been tested directly on humans). Additionally, many other medical studies have shown that the more green tea consumed daily the greater the benefits, with 10 cups being the upper limit. If you are sensitive to caffeine, or suffer from insomnia, 10 cups of green tea is probably going to be too much for your system, regardless of the benefits.
There are a few negative consequences to drinking lots and lots of green tea. The tannins found in both green and black tea can decrease absorption of folic acid, an important vitamin that helps decrease birth defects. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you should definitely limit your green tea consumption to two cups a day, or skip it altogether. Green tea can also interfere with the absorption of iron, too, so it’s recommended that you avoid drinking green tea with meals and just drink it between them.
How many cups of green tea do you drink a day?
This article originally appeared on POPSUGAR.com
How Much Green Tea Should You Drink In A Day
How Much Green Tea Should I Drink?
Green tea is known to offer health benefits such as increased immunity, and a decreased risk of heart disease. Research shows that it reduces the risk of cancer.
With all of the health benefits green tea offers, you might wonder how often you should be drinking green tea? You might also wonder whether you can have too much of a good thing? Read more to find out.
What are the health benefits associated with green tea?
Green tea has been scientifically proven to offer health benefits. This is because the tea has a high flavonoid content. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties. They are anti-inflammatory, and they help to boost the immune system. This helps the body to fight cancer, reduces aging, protects the heart and fights against infection.
The University of Maryland found that green tea may help to prevent cancer. People who consume green tea regularly had a reduced risk of different types of cancer, including lung, bladder throat and breast cancer.
Green tea also assists with decreasing bad cholesterol in the body and increasing good cholesterol. As green tea contains catechins, it helps to regulate blood sugar, keeps your weight stable and lowers your metabolism. If this weren’t enough, green tea is known for its ability to help you to concentrate, and to improve cognitive functioning.
With all of the health benefits offered by green tea, it’s no wonder you’re ready to pick up your mug and start drinking. However, you might be asking what is the right amount?
How much green tea should you drink?
In tea drinking cultures around the world, many people naturally drink 2 to 3 glasses of green tea a day. This offers some optimal health benefits, and following in this tradition would give your health a significant boost. However, Dr. Zuo Feng Zhang, a cancer researcher from UCLA shares that five cups a day is a powerful way to reduce stomach cancer. He was however quite specific in making a reference to cups of tea rather than mugs.
Research seems to show that between 2 and 5 cups of tea will bring you the most benefit. However, it is helpful to make sure that your tea is not too concentrated so that you don’t overwhelm your system. To get the most health benefit per glass, make sure your tea brews slowly, allowing it to properly seek into the water.
This will ensure you get maximum health benefits with each glass you take. It is also helpful to drink green tea on an empty stomach. This helps to make the most of the antioxidant properties present in the tea.
The higher the quality of tea, the greater the antioxidant benefits, the less you will need to drink in order to gain a benefit. Loose leaf tea is said to offer the greatest health benefits, while bottled teas offer the least.
How much is too much?
Although people sometimes drink up to seven cups a day, you may overwhelm your system by drinking too much. Your goal isn’t to allow green tea to replace water in your diet. This is because green tea does contain caffeine, which can make you jittery and nervous.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, which causes your body to release water. Drinking too much caffeine can, therefore, leave you dehydrated. Green tea contains around 35 mg of caffeine per cup. Decaffeinated green tea does not offer the same health benefits.
Green tea also contains tannins, which can prevent you from properly absorbing folic acid. Folic acid is important for maintaining new cells. It also helps to produce red blood cells and is crucial for brain functioning. Pregnant women need to have folic acid to ensure the health of their developing baby.
If your body takes in too many flavonoids, present in green tea, this will prevent your body from properly absorbing nonheme iron from food. Drinking green tea with meals can have a huge effect on iron absorption, decreasing it by up to 70%. This means that you run the risk of developing anemia. People who are anemic feel short of breath, a battle to exert themselves and feel low in energy. They may have a rapid heartbeat and feel dizzy.
Green tea also has high levels of fluorine, which, in very high doses, can lead to bone disease. Fluorine levels will be higher if the tea is brewed with drinking water which contains fluoride supplements.
So, although green tea offers a great many health benefits, it is wise to limit consumption if you’re pregnant, battle with anemia or are sensitive to caffeine. If you are vegetarian, remember to take in enough iron to supplement your supplies.
Green tea is an excellent drink which has health-boosting properties. However, like all good things, green tea is best enjoyed in moderation. 2 to 5 cups of green tea a day seems to offer the optimal health benefit. Buying quality tea will boost these health benefits offered, and you will need a lower amount of tea to reap the rewards. Enjoy.
Thanks for reading our article on How Much Green Tea Should You Drink In A Day. We think you will also enjoy our article on The 6 Different Kinds Of Tea.
All types of tea, even your regular cup of builder’s, come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea gets its name from the emerald green colour created when brewing unprocessed, unfermented tea leaves. With origins going back as far as 5,000 years, green tea is commonly drunk and widely grown in the Far East where the health properties are well regarded.
Different varieties of green tea
The difference between green and black tea results from the manufacturing process. Black tea undergoes fermentation which transforms its colour and flavour, whereas green tea remains unprocessed and retains its colour. Green tea is grown in higher altitudes, more specifically the mountainous regions of East Asia. Some green tea is still picked by hand, and it is thought that handpicked teas are less bitter and yield a sweeter, more robust taste. Other factors such as the climate and soil can also affect the flavour.
Sencha is the most popular of Japan’s green teas. There are numerous grades which can affect the price and quality. Sencha leaves are first steamed and then shaped. Sencha tea produces a clear yellow/green tea with a sweet, grassy but slightly astringent flavour.
Matcha is made from green tea leaves grown in the shade. The leaves have a higher chlorophyll content which makes them a vibrant green colour. To make matcha, the entire leaf is ground down into a powder. The powder is mixed with boiling water and gently whisked before being served. The flavour is light and sweet and so is now added to desserts and sweet drinks.
Green tea can be found as fresh leaves or in tea bags, frequently blended with other flavours such as lemon, lime or ginger.
When buying tea leaves, avoid older leaves. This is the same principle as with coffee beans. Allegedly, whole leaves are the highest grade and leaves that are older than four months are past their level of peak freshness. Once purchased and opened, keep leaves in an airtight container that can be resealed and store in a cool place to help slow down the reactions that can reduce the tea’s phytonutrient content and impact on flavour.
There are many health claims surrounding green tea from a reduced risk of cancer to weight loss. The evidence to support these claims is largely inconclusive. Some of the health claims are based on ancient Eastern traditions, where green tea has been used to treat symptoms of disease for years. Because of the proposed benefits, many ‘health’ products now include traces of green tea. However, there is limited evidence to suggest these products are effective. If you are hoping to use green tea for medicinal purposes, make sure to consult your doctor first.
Green tea does have more health benefits than black tea which can be attributed to its lack of processing. Green tea is higher in protective polyphenols. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids, the most active of which are catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which function as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to protect the body against disease and are an important part of a healthy diet. Antioxidants can be found in a range of fruits, vegetables and other unprocessed foods. As part of a balanced diet, green tea can be a good source of antioxidants.
How much caffeine does green tea contain?
Green tea does contain caffeine, although varieties and brands may differ. An equal quantity of green tea contains less caffeine than coffee (one cup of green tea contains approximately 35-80 mg compared to approximately 100-400 mg in the same size cup of coffee), but it can still act as a stimulant. As a result, some people find that drinking green tea increases energy levels, concentration and mood, but this effect may vary between individuals.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, it is advisable to limit the total number of cups of green tea you drink in a day. Too much caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns. If this affects you, try cutting back on caffeinated drinks after lunchtime.
How to prepare green tea
The tea you use, temperature and steeping time all have a significant effect on the antioxidant levels of brewed green tea. Warm and ambient temperatures are the best to retain antioxidants. Let the boiling water cool slightly before pouring onto the tea leaves, and allow to steep for between 2 and 3 minutes.
Can green tea affect iron levels?
Like all types of tea, green tea contains tannins. Tannins can interfere with the absorption of iron so try not to drink tea with an iron-rich meal and leave at least one hour before drinking tea after an iron-rich meal.
Read more about good sources of iron.
Green tea recipes
Amaranth porridge with green tea & ginger compote
Spinach & matcha pancakes
Matcha breakfast bowl
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This article was reviewed on 4th July 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Jo Lewin works as a Community Nutritionist and private consultant. She is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) registered with the UKVRN. Visit her website at www.nutrijo.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
6 Reasons Why Green Tea is Good For You
Green tea doesn’t only taste good, it also has a number of health benefits.
Here are 6 great reasons why I’ve incorporated this delicious drink in my diet and why you should too.
- Helping Our Metabolism
First things first, green tea contains properties that can help to increase your metabolic rate and burn fat in the short term. This means that, together with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, green tea can help you try and lose weight. If you swap sugary and fizzy drinks for hot or iced green tea, you can save thousands of calories a year!
- It Contains Antioxidants
We all need a good daily dose of antioxidants – those lovely molecules that help cleanse our bodies. Thanks to its gentle fermentation process, green tea is rich in natural antioxidants and flavonoids that kill free radicals – those awful unstable molecules that damage your cells.
- It Can Be Good For Your Teeth!
The compounds contained in green tea kill bacteria found in the mouth, stopping them from attacking your teeth. In this way, green tea helps to prevent cavities and gum disease, as well as decreasing the chances of inflammation. That said, don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth too!
- It Can Help to Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Green tea can also look after your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It helps to keep the levels of sugar in the blood stable, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to catechins (a type of antioxidant). Something you don’t want to miss out on when you get a little older.
- It Helps to Give You Better Breath
The green tea magic also happens in your mouth. According to a study, green tea kills microbes that are responsible for bad breath. Apparently green tea beats mints, chewing gum and even parsley-seed oil at improving the smell of your breath. If you’ve got a date lined up, get sipping that green goodness!
- It Helps You Relax
The green brew can also have a calming effect on your mind. Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea leaves, helps you relax and keep stress at bay. According to researchers, theanine also helps to reduce anxiety.
Check out our full green tea range here
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Put down those saucer cups and get chugging — tea is officially awesome for your health. But before loading up on Red Zinger, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.
But what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Though most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why coffee’s little cousin rocks your health.
- Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
- Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
- The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
- Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
- Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
- Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
- Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
- Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
- Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigs).
- Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
- Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back postexposure.
- Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
- Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff:
- Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.
- The studies seem convincing, but a rat does not a human make. Chemicals in tea may react differently in the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other good stuff in green tea) may not be bioavailable for humans, meaning tea might not always benefit human health to the same degree as in lab studies suggest.
- All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea might be determined by the tea variety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.
The takeaway: at the very least, tea should be safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.
Do you drink tea regularly? Have you noticed any health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!
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Tea is a great drink to consume if you want to lose weight. However, it must be supplemented by a healthy lifestyle.
Green tea (or any tea for that matter) with it’s composition of antioxidants and other minerals is considered very good for health (you can see its health benefits here.
Calorie-Free: It has 0 calories and is therefore healthier than every other beverage that is not calorie-free, such as coffee, soda, etc. 3500 calories is roughly equal to 1 lb of weight. Therefore, for every 100 calorie cup of coffee that you consume, had you consumed a cup of green tea instead, you would have saved 100 calories. In 35 days, you will save 3500 calories, which means you will have lost 1 lb of weight in 35 days by making just this one replacement (all other variables kept the same). However, if you had lemon and honey, your drink is not calorie-free anymore.
It Fills You Up: Consuming green tea can “fill you up” and as such you’re less likely to consume foods that increase your calorie/sugar intake.
Note: The teas given below are ideal for weight loss.
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