Green tea benefits: Can it help reduce weight?


Apart from water, tea and coffee are two other drinks that help us keep active throughout our busy schedule. Though green tea is less known than black tea, its positive benefits are well-acknowledged. Brewing the dried leaves of Camellia Sinensis gives you the green tea leaves. The less processing for green tea leaves it with approximately the natural amount of antioxidant levels and thus has more medicinal properties. Green tea gained the spotlight when it was rumored to reduce weight. Other green tea benefits include antioxidation and anticancer although the latter is under research.

Does green tea really help in weight loss?

Yes! Green tea can help you lose weight. It influences carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. It also increases after-meal thermogenesis. The vital components in this specific activity are caffeine and catechin (especially EGCG).

Green tea promotes weight loss by increasing energy expenditure and fat metabolim due to catechins. Caffeine encourages energy expenditure, enhancing the effect. Moreover, EGCG also inhibits the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, which promotes fat break down.

A study found that green tea increases energy expenditure. However, the study expressed no significant difference in resting energy expenditure between EGCG (a type of catechin) and placebo-controlled groups. But, the difference in respiratory quotient values was evident for fat oxidation.

Green tea promotes weight loss by increasing fat metabolism. The fat oxidation process produces little or no carbon dioxide at all, reducing the exhalation rate. EGCG also inhibits the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, which promotes fat break down.

However, if you totally rely on green tea for weight loss, then it is a bad choice. It is supposed to be a healthier alternative for soda and other sugary drinks. 2-3 cups of tea a day is sufficient. Include green tea in your exercise and diet-regime to enhance the positive effects.

The negative impacts of increased consumption is a cumulative effect of increased catechins, L-theanine, caffeine, and flavonoids. It can cause irritability, upset stomach, and nausea. 

How can green tea benefit diabetics?

People with diabetes usually exhibit glucose intolerance and/or insulin resistance. Green tea polyphenol(GTP) administration helped increase glucose tolerance, reverting the condition. The decrease in glycogen concentration also expressed an increase after GTP administration.

In other words, GTP was capable of reverting all the negative impacts of diabetes– the condition that targets the pancreatic cells, reducing insulin secretion.

Besides, green tea flavonoids also have insulin-like and insulin-enhancing activities. The antihyperglycemic effect is due to EGCG activity. It reduces glucose uptake by inhibiting glucose transporters. Thus, it also acts as a good treatment for diabetes.

How will the antioxidant property benefit us?

Green tea is widely known for its antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants are the chemical compounds that help reduce the oxygen species, which can result in cellular damage due to unnecessary oxidations. Polyphenols and vitamin C determines the antioxidant capability.

Moreover, the tea leaves also consist of chlorophyll and carotenoids, which enhance the effect. The marker for oxidative stress, Malondialdehyde, reduces after green tea intake– evident for its antioxidant property.

The catechins, vitamins E and C, and other enzymes in green tea cumulatively contribute to the antioxidant mechanism. Green tea increases the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase– responsible for cellular protection against reactive oxygen species.

It also exhibits a direct action by reducing the nitric oxide levels. Hence, every day green tea intake makes you look younger because the skin cells are always healthy. They experience reduced burden due to oxidative stress.

Benefits caffeine and L-theanine in green tea

Green tea can increase neural connections with the frontal lobe, improving thinking, memory, focus, and various cognitive tasks. Prolonged regular intake of green tea also organizes brain connections allowing it to function efficiently. Caffeine and L-theanine are two essential components of green tea.

Activity of caffeine

The primary component in green tea that helps boost brain health is caffeine. Caffeine is a well-known brain stimulator. It can also improve one’s mood and enhance calmer senses. Since the caffeine content is low in green tea compared to coffee, you can take caffeine without having the “jittery effects” of a coffee. It also helps relieve stress and fatigue due to its activity on the neural system.

We often experience overpowered neurons and neural activity during a busy day. The adenosine content in mind increases with more neural activity. Adenosine is the brain response to counteract the hyperactive neuronal activity. It reduces neural activity, making us less alert. Caffeine acts as a structural analog of adenosine, mimicking its binding activity. This results in fewer action regions for adenosine keeping the brain active. In other words, caffeine inhibits the actions of adenosine, expressing its stimulatory activity.

Activity of L-theanine

L-Theanine is another crucial amino acid usually found in tea leaves. It promotes relaxation and calmness without any drowsiness. It can help reduce stress by imitating the activity of GABA– the neurotransmitter that blocks excitatory responses. This effect reduces blood pressure, heart rate, eventually stress and anxiety. These calming effects can promote sleep, also making green tea a sleep aid. On the other hand, these calmer senses can help you stay focused throughout your day as well.

Caffeine inhibits the action of adenosine, expressing its stimulatory activity. L-theanine reduces stress by imitating GABA– the neurotransmitter that blocks excitatory responses.

The combined effect of caffeine and L-theanine

Caffeine paired with L-theanine can improve focus and attention. The combination improves the speed and accuracy of attention-demanding and switching tasks. The combined effect can also reduce distractions. However, the duo fails to perform consistently in prolonged tasks. 

L-theanine allows caffeine to do its job without any side-effects. For instance, caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor, decreasing the blood vessel volume. L-theanine comes into action by inhibiting the excitatory responses, reducing blood pressure. Thus, although green tea consists of caffeine, it will not give you the jittery effects and headaches, unlike coffee.

Drinking coffee during the day can be beneficial or upsetting. L-theanine, the rescuer, also induces calming effects counteracting the negative impacts of caffeine. Moreover, it also helps promote more deep sleep, reducing your need to depend on caffeine the next day. However, these counteracting effects of L-theanine can prove to be negative when it starts affecting the cognitive impacts of caffeine.

Related: Best antioxidant foods: Two reasons behind their ability

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