If you’re looking for a great way to start the day, look no further: green tea might be exactly what you need.
So why should you add green tea to your healthy diet?
Well, it may just be the healthiest drink in the world. Green tea has a host of benefits, from aiding weight loss to boosting brain power to lowering risk of disease.
1) It can boost your brainpower. Green tea contains anywhere between 35 and 70 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounce cup, making it about half as eye-opening as a cup of brewed coffee. But this stimulant does more than just keep you awake–it can increase your memory, reaction time, and, most importantly, mood thanks to the effects it has on your neurons and neurotransmitters. Another awesome component of green tea that can help produce anti-anxiety effects is the presence of L-theanine, a dopamine-enhancing amino acid. Studies show that the combination of these two brain boosters result in some seriously mind-enhancing effects. So before your next big test, remember to drink up!
2) It can help lower your cholesterol. One of green tea’s most potent antioxidants Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) may inhibit the large intestine’s ability to absorb cholesterol based on a 2011 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Because of its minimal processing (green tea leaves are withered and steamed unlike other teas that are fermented), these healthy catechins avoid much oxidation, thus have more concentrated EGCG.
3) It’s loaded with antioxidants. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, including polyphenols–particularly catechins–which can reduce free radical formation (thereby prevent aging), and EGCG, known to be an ancient anti-cancer compound. Additionally, the wealth of antioxidants could help lower your risk of a multitude of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. To give an extra boost to your antioxidant absorption, add lemon–Vitamin C makes it easier for your body to absorb these catechins. But try to drink your tea sans milk since adding it will likely reduce the effectiveness of these helpful compounds.
4) It could help you lose weight. Green tea’s stimulant effects, fat-burning properties, and high water content, make it a relatively effective weight loss drink–particularly when it comes to losing harmful visceral fat (also known as belly fat). In a 12-week randomized controlled study of 240 men and women, the green tea-drinking group showed reduced body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat compared to the control group. Another experiment involving 10 healthy men showed that green tea increased energy expenditure by four percent, while another showed that it increased fat oxidation by 17 percent. Additionally, green tea can help increase the effects of fat-burning hormones, helping our bodies break down more fat. However, don’t restock your pantry with only green tea just yet–each person responds to foods (and drinks) differently, so green tea won’t work its metabolism magic on everyone.
While you shouldn’t rely exclusively on green tea to lose weight, it can be a helpful addition to your healthy lifestyle. And it’s a great way to get a health boost without the jitters you could get from a cup of coffee. Happy brewing!