Thursday, May 3, 2012

Green Tea, where have you been all my life?

So I have been claiming for 2 weeks now that I was gonna look into this Green Tea stuff, and I have been, i just wanted to make sure I had a well rounded and honest perspective on this stuff because quite frankly Green Tea sounded too good to be true. But guess what's not. It's true.
So lets break it down Jessica style so we can all understand the big words together.....mmmmkay.

It just looks zen...doesn't it?
The Benefits:
  • Green tea has been purported to reduce the risk of certain cancers ( skin, breast, lung, colon and esophageal to name a few)
  • assist in treating rheumatoid arthritis
  • lower cholesterol
  • reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • fight infection
  • prevent tooth decay
  • aid in weight loss
  • save children from a burning building

OK that last one might not be (definitely is not) true, however technically I'm sure if you had enough green tea, you could probably put the fire out long enough to get the kids out....just sayin.

Anyway, so those are just some of the claims Green Tea drinking has made. There are more but they get ridiculous after awhile. But here's the thing guys, all have been proven...true story.

How does it work?
Green tea contains this wonderful thing called catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). I love these unpronounceable words that sound so damn important. So this EGCG stuff is a powerful anti-oxidant and as we all know anti-oxidants do good things, like  inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and killing cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It's a cancer hit man that knows how to avoid civilians....we like this.

Green tea works different then black teas and most others because of the way it is prepared.
Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized unlike other teas which are fermented before being made into a tea.
Plus there is ALL kinds of scientific studies. So many little rats are now walking around ass-cancer free thanks to the miracles of green tea.As for the infection fighting and tooth decay helping, green tea has bacteria fighting components in it that can aid in killing mouth bacteria and even helping to prevent food poisoning...WHOO HOO i can go back to eating at Greasy Sals!
On to weight loss....well the jury is kinda out on that one....but not really. See anti-oxidants and caffeine are both proven to assist in weigh loss to an extent. The polyphenols mixed with the caffeine induce thermogenesis which in turn boosts your metabolic rate...but only slightly (like 4%) That is to say it will assist somewhat(about 70 to 80 extra calories burned a day) but if you were expecting the pounds to melt away without doing anything else, you wold be one very disappointed tea drinker. It works out to about 8 lbs a year you would burn...and i thought my process was taking awhile.

In my research i discovered other neat little things that green tea can do for you, such as studies are being done to prove it's effectiveness on people with depression and German doctors have been using a green tea solution on people with skin damage from radiation treatments and it has been showing positive results. Also it's apparently good for tightening your gums (i had no idea loose gums were a problem) and hair strengthening and possibly most importantly as a de-intoxifier (drink it the morning after and it will help with a hangover). There isn't nearly as much proof on this stuff as the others but hell, since you are already drinking it now, look at all the other good stuff!

The Negative Side
There isn't one....not really. There is a few concerns about caffeine overdose, but
green tea contains less caffeine than coffee about thirty to sixty mg of caffeine in green tea to 100 mg in coffee. Also there is some proof that green tea can get in the way of some mineral and medication absorbtion (mainly iron) so it isn't reccomended for anemic people and it is suggested that you do not take it within 2 hrs of certain medicines...but some medicines you cant have milk either so.....It's also not reccomended for pregnant women because of the caffeine and the risk of neural tube birh defects...i dunno what those are, but like everything else good in the world, avoid green tea until after the baby comes out.
My only real problem with all this is the fact that for any of these benefits to happen, you need to drink a minumum of 4 cups a day, preferrably 5 or 6 with some studies suggesting upwards of 10. 10 cups a day? where are you people finding the time to brew 10 cups a day? Especially considering how many trips to the bathroom you must be making. Also, I dont love the taste...It's not awful but it's not wonderful either. ButI am working on it....hopefully i will find my perfect brew.
How to take it.

Well, it's like this. For maximum benefits, you need to actually drink the tea. Some supplements and capsules are good but you have to really look into it. Some have uneccesary ingrediants, some don't have enough extract, some haven't extracted it right....when buying green tea in capsule form check the ingrediants, mainly looking for alot of unnatural ingrediants, pretty much anything ending in the word -ose (sugars) and you want a high level of catechins. Over 60 mg for sure, aim for 70-90 mg for maximum benefits. Same goes for the tea bags. You are gonna start losing effectiveness once processing starts occurring. Opt for loose green tea (bulk barn has it and its cheap too) and avoid the flavored stuff. Brew a cup of hot but not boiling water pour it over the tea bag or leaves and let it steep for about 3 min and take the bag out. Scientists found that  milk proteins called caseins decrease the catechins in the tea so therefore to reap any of the benefits, it's gotta be milk and cream free. If possible use honey instead of sugar to sweeten it, especially over white sugar. White sugar is evil and should be avoided at all costs....that is an blog for another day Honey has a whole slew of health benefits that I will DEFINITELY blog on in the near future. Sit back, relax and enjoy your tenth cup of tea today. Oh and one last thing...the iced green teas you can buy in the stores usually contain about 1/8 of the good stuff so read your labels...if it's full of fake sugars and low levels of catechins, your better off grabbing a water.
That's it for now folks. Happy Tea Drinking


  1. when looking for catechins, look for the word flavonoids...thats the flavonoid in green tea

  2. Thanks for the research! I just this week upped my intake to 4-5 cups. My first cup is doubled bagged and plus I put one brewed cup in my daily smoothie. That leaves 2 to sip on throughout the day and night. With a little honey, I loves it. So much better than the 8 cups of coffee I used to drink!