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Green Tea

    Green tea originated in China more than 4000 years ago. Since then, interest in the tea’s benefits has made it popular around the world. Now, green tea is used as a beverage, a medicine, and an ingredient in health foods, cosmetic products, and dietary supplements.

    Green tea comes from the leaves of Camellia sinensis; as do black, white, and oolong teas. However, green tea is unique because it undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. As a result, this tea contains higher concentrations of polyphenols.[1]

    Polyphenols are antioxidants. They scavenge for free radicals and then neutralize the harmful toxins. Green tea is particularly high in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) — a specific polyphenol type.[1] In addition to improving overall health, EGCG is linked to weight loss.[2]

    Free radicals and toxins damage cells and DNA. This damage speeds the aging process, and increases cancer risk.[3] By neutralizing free radicals and toxins, green tea’s polyphenols protect and repair cells, and may help prevent cancer.[4][5]

    The antioxidants in green tea are vasodilators — they make blood vessels more flexible and prevent arteries from clogging.[6] Researchers say drinking green tea may reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke by 10-20%.[7] A study that followed more than 37,000 people for 13 years showed those who drank green tea were less likely to die from heart disease.[9]

    A report of 20 clinical studies concluded, “The consumption of green tea catechins is associated with statistically significant reductions in total [cholesterol] and LDL cholesterol levels.”[9] Lowering cholesterol not only benefits the heart, it also decreases diabetes risk.[10]

    In addition, green tea burns calories and promotes fat loss.[3] After consuming green tea extract for 90 days, obese study participants reduced body fat lost more than 30 lbs.[3] Researchers also say green tea lowers blood sugar, which reduces fat storage and sugar cravings.[11]

    Because green tea contains caffeine, it boosts energy and improves mental alertness by stimulating the central nervous system.[12] Caffeine also suppresses cravings and enhances green tea’s ability to burn fat.13][14]

    Green tea is likely safe for most adults, according to the National Health Institutes.[15] However, drinking too much may be unsafe due to the caffeine. A safe caffeine dosage is 400 mg or less per day.[16] An 8 oz. cup of green tea has between 24 and 40 mg caffeine.[9] Using over 6 grams cinnamon may irritate the mouth and lips, resulting in sores.[9]

    Caffeine may cause side effects such as:

    • Headache
    • Insomnia
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Irregular Heartbeat
    • Dizziness[16]

    Women who are pregnant or nursing should not drink more than 2 cups of green tea a day. Consuming more may increase the risk for miscarriage.[15]

    If you have any of the following conditions, drinking green tea may make it worse:

    When applied to the skin, cinnamon may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.[11]

    • Anemia
    • Heart Conditions
    • Diabetes
    • Diarrhea
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Glaucoma
    • High Blood Pressure[15]

    Green tea may interact with several popular medications (e.g. birth control pills).[15] Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before consuming green tea.

    The following dosages were used during studies involving green tea as a beverage:

    • For Increasing Alertness: 3 cups of tea daily[15]
    • For Lowering Cholesterol: 10 or more cups of tea daily[15]
    • For General Benefits: 3 cups of tea daily[15]
    • For Cardiovascular Health: 3-6 cups of tea daily[9]]

    Every 8 oz. green tea contains 25-106 mg EGCG.[17]

    Due to the risk associated with consuming too much caffeine, do not drink 10 or more cups of green tea without consulting a medical professional.[16]]

    For weight loss from supplements, this green tea extract dose was used during a clinical study:

    • 300 mg daily[7]]
    • [1] “Green Tea.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center System.
    • [2] Di Pierro, F, AB Menghi, et al. “Greenselect Phytosome as an adjunct to a low-calorie diet for treatment of obesity: a clinical trial.” Alternative Medicine Review. 14.2 (2009): 154-60.
    • [3] “Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet.” National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health, 28 Jul 2004.
    • [4] Seeram NP, Henning SM, Niu Y, et al. “Catechin and caffeine content of green tea dietary supplements and correlation with antioxidant capacity.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 54.5 (2006): 1599–1603.
    • [5] Lambert JD, Yang CS. “Mechanisms of cancer prevention by tea constituents.” Journal of Nutrition. 133.10 (2003): 3262S–3267S.
    • [6] “Vasodilator.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Dec 2010.
    • [7] Bohn, SK, NC Ward, et al. “Effects of tea and coffee on cardiovascular disease risk.” Food & Function. 3.6 (2012): 575-91.
    • [8] de Koning Gans, JM, CS Uiterwaal, et al. “Tea and coffee consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 30.8 (2010): 1665-71.
    • [9] Kim A, Chiu A, Barone MK, et al. “Green tea catechins decrease total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 111.11 (2011): 1720-9.
    • [10] Wolfram, S, Y Wang, and F Thielecke. “Anti-obesity effects of green tea: from bedside to bench.” Molecular nutrition & food research. 50.2 (2006): 176-87.
    • [11] “Understand Your Risk for Diabetes.” American Heart Association. American Heart Association, Inc, 5 Jul 2012.
    • [12] Shi, J, J Yan, et al. “Intragastric administration of evodiamine suppresses NPY and AgRP gene expression in the hypothalamus and decreases food intake in rats.” Brain Research. 1247. (2009): 71-8.
    • [13] Dulloo, Abdul, Claudette Duret, et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 70.6 (1999).
    • [14] Smith, A. “Effects of caffeine on human behavior.” Food and Chemical Toxicology. 40.9 (2002): 1243-55.
    • [15] “Green Tea.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Mar 2013.
    • [16] Mayo Clinic staff. “Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 9 Mar 2011.
    • [17] Reto M, Figueira ME, Filipe HM, Almeida CM. “Chemical composition of green tea (Camellia sinensis) infusions commercialized in Portugal.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 62.4 (2007):139–144.

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