Archeological evidence shows that people consumed tea leaves steeped in boiling water as many as 5,000 years ago. Botanical evidence indicates that India and China were among the first countries to cultivate tea. In modern times, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Hundreds of millions of people drink tea around the world, and studies suggest that green tea, camellia sinesis, in particular has many health benefits. In particular, green tea extract has been proven as a supplement to use for rapid weight loss.
Green, black, and oolong tea are all derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Originally cultivated in East Asia, this plant grows as large as a shrub or tree. Today, Camellia sinensis grows throughout Asia and parts of the Middle East and Africa.
People in Asian countries more commonly consume green tea while black tea is most popular in the United States. Green tea is prepared from unfermented leaves, while, conversely, black tea is from fully fermented leaves. The greater the rate of fermentation, the lower the polyphenol content and the higher the caffeine content. Green tea has the highest polyphenol content while black tea has roughly 2 – 3 times the caffeine content of green tea.
Green tea has long been used in China as medicine to treat headaches, poor digestion, and improve overall health and life expectancy. Green tea extract is rich in bioflavonoids. One of its primary uses is fighting free radicals. Green tea extract contains a high level of polyphenols, a bioflavonoid. It is also an abundant source of EGCG(a powerful antioxidant) that has a 200 fold greater potency than vitamin E as an antioxidant. The EGCG in green tea is effective against infections and blocks the actions of carcinogens. It is also effective at lowering cholesterol.
Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals, and laboratory experiments. Results from these studies indicate that green tea could be useful for lowering cholesterol, and weight loss.
Research shows that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol in both animals and people. One population-based clinical study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea. Results from one animal study suggest that polyphenols in green tea may block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and promote its excretion from the body. In another study of male smokers, researchers discovered that green tea significantly reduced blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Studies have indicated that green tea extract boosts metabolism and helps burn fat. One study confirmed that the combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss and maintenance in overweight and moderately obese individuals. Some researchers speculate that substances in green tea known as polyphenols, specifically the catechins, are responsible for the herb’s fat-burning effects. Thus, green tea can certainly assist a person to quickly lose weight.
Green tea extract has been proven as an effective way to lose weight. Researchers in Tokyo, Japan noted that daily consumption of green tea containing 690 mg catechins for 12 weeks reduced body fat, which indicates that the consumption of catechins might be useful in the prevention and improvement of obesity.
Catechins (natural components of green tea) help people lose weight by improving the metabolism of carbohydrates, preventing fat deposition and promoting thermogenesis.
The Japanese study showed that drinking a bottle of green tea extract containing 690 mg of catechins per day for 12 weeks helped test subjects decrease bodyweight, body mass index, waist circumference, body fat mass and surface fat area compared to a group that drank a daily bottle of tea containing only 22 mg of catechins.
Subjects taking the green tea extract lost more than three pounds of total body fat and seven inches of surface fat, leading researchers to believe green tea extract may be an effective way to lose pounds and inches.
Most green tea dietary supplements are sold as dried leaf tea in capsule form. The preferred green tea extracts are standardized. Liquid extracts made from the leaves and leaf buds are also available. The common cup of green tea contains between 50 – 150 mg polyphenols (antioxidants). Decaffeinated green tea products still contain concentrated polyphenols. Supplements without caffeine are available.
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