If you love green tea, there’s a lot to love – good for you! (I, personally, think it’s bitter.)
If you don’t love green tea, maybe you should try to love it. (I blend green tea with other teas and have found the perfect amount of stevia for my taste.)
The problem with green tea isn’t the tea, itself. It’s the hype. And there’s no need for it. Green tea benefits are real, but just not miracles.
Let’s separate fact from fiction:
Green tea benefits all of these and more. So it’s no joke.
Green Tea Can Help With Body Fat, But……
Please know that no supplement or tea causes you to drop three pant sizes in 14 days. (I know; hard to believe, based on all the magazine ads you see.)
But green tea does have positive fat-burning effects. In the research, it’s called “lipid oxidation”.
Those fat-burning effects begin when people are consuming high levels of a compound in green tea called EGCG. It’s hard to get the 500 mgs of EGCG (used in the some studies) by drinking green tea, alone, so supplemental EGCG is a good option for many people.
BUT….(you knew a BUT was coming)….
In other words, if you regularly consume caffeine in tea or coffee (or supplementally), the fat-burning effects of the EGCG-caffeine combo just don’t work that well.
But of course, if you are new to caffeine, and you start drinking green tea and supplementing with even more EGCG, you may get some marginal fat-burning…but it’ll last only until your body starts becoming accustomed to caffeine. Then it slows down.
Now, when you read the actual studies, you discover that Yes, the EGCG and caffeine do have some fat oxidizing effects. But it’s just not that profound. The word “insignificant” shows up a lot with regard to actual pounds lost, or waist circumference shrinking.
But because technically, it does increase fat-burning a tiny bit, marketers have exploited that fact to make it seem like you’ll be razor thin almost instantly with green tea extract in your supplement regimen. (They may even have “before and after” photos. As if those aren’t easy to fake.)
Green tea and green tea extract are both great. Just not in the way that some supplement companies would like you to believe.
Green Tea and Cancer
Let’s be clear: If you have cancer, don’t think of green tea or green tea extracts as cures. You deserve to be told the truth.
On the other hand, green tea may be able to enhance cancer prevention strategies, and may be useful as part of a comprehensive nutritional program to help cancer patients.
First, know that the most anti-cancer benefits seem to come from the actual tea, not isolated extracts of tea, (such as EGCG). This means that you should look to actual brewed green tea for it’s anti-cancer potential, not supplemental extracts.
Also, recognize that there are a number of reasons why the green tea is helpful against cancer. The most under-appreciated reason may be due to its antifungal properties. Doug Kaufmann has published extensively, (including in mainstream peer-reviewed medical journals, and his own book on cancer), about the link between fungus and fungal poisons, and cancer. It’s stunning how this has been all but ignored by mainstream medicine until very recently.
Some of the other reasons for the anti-cancer action may related to some of the benefits in the remainder of this list.
Green Tea Increases Blood Flow and Oxygenation
Cancer tissue (and fungi) seems to grow best in low-oxygen environments. Increasing oxygenated blood flow to an area, therefore, may be useful in combatting the spread of cancer.
This is also helpful for people who are dealing with regular blood flow issues to fingers, legs, and toes.
It may also be why athletes like the palpable effects of green tea and green tea extracts for physical activity. Blood flow is crucial for muscle strength and overall performance. One study showed that EGCG before exercise increased both fat-burning (moderately!) and the efficiency of the heart and lungs during exercise, (VO2 Max).
Green Tea Helps Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels
More and more longevity researchers are identifying high blood sugar as one of the key accelerators of aging. High blood sugar exacerbates fungal overgrowth, can fuel cancer growth, is associated with uncontrolled weight gain, leads to “glycation”, (which is when sugar attached to fats and proteins in the body, causing inflammation, cataracts, Alzheimer’s, and joint tissue degradation, among other things), and of course, diabetes.
NO, you cannot eat donuts and candy all day, then drink a cup of green tea, and expect all the ill effects of the sugary treats to just vanish. But green tea does seem to help your efforts in normalizing blood sugar.
Most human studies show both green tea and green tea extract (EGCG) seem to increase insulin sensitivity, lower actual blood sugar levels, and can even help reduce A1C levels, (a predictor for diabetes).
Green Tea May Help Reduce Cholesterol
One study of overweight men and women showed that EGCG from green tea helped lower total cholesterol after 8 weeks of use.
Apparently, the EGCG helps inhibit an enzyme that creates cholesterol. (I also suspect that the anti-fungal properties help to combat fungus-induced cholesterol formation, as well.)
In other words, there are lots of reasons to enjoy a few cups of green tea every day, as well as working in a bit of supplemental EGCG.
No, it won’t make you thin overnight or cure disease. But the positive effects are so profound, you’ll be glad you found a way to make green tea a central part of your wellness strategy.
BONUS: If you’ve never tried green tea, consider Japanese sencha tea. In the book AntiCancer, Dr. David Servan-Schrieber recommended sencha because of it’s high levels of EGCG. He recommends steeping it for 5 – 10minutes, and drinking two or three cups per day.