I walk into my neighborhood Starbucks and I ask for a trenta, unsweetened green tea, with no water and light ice. The barista instantly goes to work making my green tea. This tea is the same tea that I have been drinking for about four years now, however only recently did I learn that this green tea is doing more than just giving me a caffeine high! After reading a few recent clinical studies I realize I might be helping myself lose weight, increasing my cognitive function, decreasing my waist size, helping ward of cancer, decreasing my risk for diabetes, and even decreasing my risk for dental caries as well as bad breath! (1,2) All just by drinking GREEN TEA!!
When we drink green tea we are not only getting somewhere between 25-40mg of caffeine per serving but we are also getting various different catechins and L-theanine. This combination of caffeine and L-theanine according to recent research has a synergistic effect on cognitive function. So if your typical day includes going to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, I recommend switching it up and trying some green tea. I know not everyone is a Starbucks enthusiast, so if you want to go out and buy your own I found some Organic Green Tea at Trader Joe’s that is quite good. This recent study that showed increase in working memory processing from the effects of green tea could be a great way to stave off the effects of aging and the epidemic of Alzheimer’s and dementia. More research needs to be done, but this is a start. (2)
Not only does this amazing beverage help with attentiveness and cognition, it also has been shown in recent studies to help decrease abdominal circumference and decrease weight. Green tea helps mobilize fats in the body (through lipolysis), especially the abdominal area for energy production. (3) This increase in fat mobilization allows the body to preferentially utilize the available fat stores for energy. If I use myself as a small case study, I personally saw my waist line go from a 34″ to 32″. However there are multiple other confounding factors that have influenced that reduction (i.e.. Crossfit and increased frequency in running).
Recent studies are also linking this amazingly beneficial beverage to enhanced insulin sensitivity. When a person’s body becomes more sensitive to insulin this allows for less insulin production as a whole. This could be a huge benefit for Type II diabetics. Most commonly Type II Diabetics are insulin resistant. The quick and fast on Diabetes is that about 90% of the country’s diabetics are Type II. Type II Diabetes develops after the body becomes flooded over a long period of time with high levels of glucose. Type II diabetes is primarily considered as multifactorial, however the increased exposure to high levels of glucose will start de-sensitizing your body to insulin. The biggest risk factor for Type II Diabetes is obesity (one study says 58% of DMII patients could have prevented diabetes by lifestyle modification and weight loss). If we can reduce abdominal fat with Green Tea then we can reduce the incidence of diabetes. When glucose is ingested this triggers an insulin response. In people with normal functioning beta cells (Insulin producing cells of the Pancreas) a spike in blood sugar triggers the release of a certain amount of insulin. Once the insulin is triggered it helps aid in breakdown of glucose. When someone becomes insulin resistant, the process of glucose utilization doesn’t work the way that it is described. In type II Diabetics there body and the body’s receptors have become resistant to the insulin. Since we are finding that green tea makes our bodies more sensitive to insulin, this will then reverse the effects of diabetes. If any of the readers have been told they are pre-diabetic or that their hemoglobin A1c is between 5.9-7.0, then I feel that along with cutting down the ingestion of carbohydrates (i.e. breads, pastas, cereals, ADDED SUGARS, pizza, etc.) they should start drinking unsweetened green tea.
In a nut shell I believe that the benefits of consuming green tea are evident. The studies in all the medical journals prove that GREEN TEA is beneficial. So, instead of ordering a Venti Mocha Latte, drink some Green Tea!
Until next time, WITH HEALTH!