Benefits of Green Tea

Millions of people have enjoyed Green tea across the world for centuries. Created by lightly steaming leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, green tea was first brewed in China in 2737 BC.

Since that time, it has remained a staple of the human diet since and has been revered in cultures across Asia. Over the past 20 years, it has gained enormous popularity in the West, rivaling coffee as the way to start one’s day.

Today, we’re going to take a deep-dive into green tea and see just how many ways it can improve health, wellness, and longevity.

Let’s get started!

Eight Benefits of Green Tea

Smooth, Jitter-Free Energy

When it comes to energy-boosting beverages, coffee reigns supreme for most people. And, while no one will argue that the jolt coffee can supply is potent (and vitally needed at times), not everyone always responds to the powerful “kick” the dark elixir provides.

Green tea represents a smoother-feeling energy drink option for individuals looking for a much-needed pick-me-up but doesn’t want the jitters or “on edge” feelings that typically accompany coffee.

What makes the infusion of energy supplied by green tea smoother-feeling than coffee is a powerful little amino acid known as L-Theanine.

L-Theanine is a component of green tea leaves that help smooth out the “harsh” stimulatory qualities of caffeine due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate GABA receptors in the brain. [1]

GABA is the body’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and when activated promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.

Since green tea supplies both caffeine and theanine, you get a “best of both worlds” energy boost in the form of heightened (yet calm and controlled) alertness.

This is part of the reason why we include 200mg of L-Theanine (alongside 300mg caffeine anhydrous) in each serving of our pre-workout, Steel Pump. Combining these two supplements provides smooth energy that helps keep you dialed into your workout without feeling out of control or overstimulated.

Enhanced Focus & Productivity

In addition to providing a smoother energy “high,” the combination of caffeine + theanine is also a powerful nootropic stack. On its own, caffeine has been documented to improve multiple facets of cognitive function, including mood, reaction time, memory, wakefulness, and vigilance. [2]

While theanine is most well-known for its GABA-stimulating properties, it also increases serotonin (the “happy” neurotransmitter) and dopamine (the “motivation and reward” molecule) as well as the production of alpha waves in the brain. [1,3,4]

In case you weren’t aware, alpha brain waves play an important role in attention and focus.

Studies show that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine is synergistic, leading to improved brain function, greater focus, and increased productivity. [5,6] Furthermore, taking theanine alongside caffeine may also help reduce the decrease in cerebral blood flow that can occur when taking caffeine alone.

Increased Exercise Performance

Caffeine is a notable ergogenic aid, not only for boost energy levels and cognitive function but also for boosting physical performance. Two comprehensive reviews of the effects of caffeine on exercise noted it increases performance by an average of 11-12%. [7,8]

The way caffeine enhances exercise performance is multifactorial, but two of the primary mechanisms by which it supports greater stamina and endurance is by reducing perceived exertion and mobilizing stored fatty acids from adipose tissues thereby making them available for use as energy. [9,10]

This also has the added effect of preserving glycogen stores for later in the workout when they’re needed for that last bit of all-out effort.

However, the performance-boosting effects of green tea aren’t solely due to its caffeine content. Additional research notes that the antioxidants present in green tea (i.e., catechins) are also capable of delaying muscular fatigue and reducing cellular damage typically induced by endurance exercise. [11,12]

One study, in particular, found that men supplementing with green tea extract increased their running distance by 10.9%. [13]

Greater Fat Burning and Weight Loss

Conventional fat burners tend to rely on a combination of two things:

  • High Amounts of Stimulants
  • Ingredients that (in theory) help burn fat, but in reality don’t have much of any effect at all (i.e., L-Carnitine and CLA)

Green tea, however, is one of the ingredients that hold up to clinical testing in humans and has been shown to boost metabolism and enhance fat loss. [14]

One study noted green tea consumption increased fat oxidation (fat burning) by 17%, while another study in men found green tea increased energy expenditure by 4%. [15,16]

While green tea does contain caffeine (a noted metabolism booster and pro-lipolytic agent), green tea’s weight loss benefits aren’t solely attributed to the well-known stimulant. Research shows that both catechins and caffeine aid weight loss by regulating the hormones that can boost thermogenesis. [17,18]

Moreover, 12-week randomized controlled trial (RCT), the “gold standard” of research” including 240 men and women noted that use of green tea extract led to significant reductions in body fat percentage, waist circumference, total body weight, and belly fat. [35]

Due to its ability to increase calorie burning and enhance weight loss, we’ve included 50mg Green Tea Extract (std. To 80% catechins and 50% EGCG) in every serving of Steel Sweat.

Now, it should be noted that some studies indicate that green tea doesn’t have much of an impact on metabolism, which suggests that the ability of green tea to help burn fat may boil down to an individual’s response to it. [19]

Neuroprotection

Not only may green tea boost your cognitive performance in the short-term, other studies indicate that the potent phytochemicals in green tea (including EGCG) may also provide long-term benefits for brain health.

More specifically, multiple studies note that green tea catechins exert an array of neuroprotective effects on neurons. [20,21,22] Among the various ways, tea catechins confer protection of neurons include antioxidant activity and running “interference” with an accumulation of various neuropeptides that are heavily associated with cognitive decline, such as α-synuclein — a protein linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

Based on these results, researchers are investigating how tea polyphenols may be able to aid in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

L-Theanine may also exert a neuroprotective effect due to its antagonistic action on glutamate receptors and preventive effect on neuronal cell death. [23]

May Help Lower Blood Sugar and Combat Diabetes

Sky-high blood sugars, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome are an epidemic these days, leading to unprecedented cases of Type 2 Diabetes in both adults and children.

Brought on by a mixture of reduced physical activity, increased availability of hyperpalatable foods, and excessive calorie consumption, significant portions of the population are faced with the issues associated with high blood sugar levels daily.

Green tea catechins, EGCG in particular, have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar, both of which contribute to lower blood sugar levels. [24,25]

One particularly interesting study found that when people were given either 1.5g of green tea or a placebo ahead of an oral glucose tolerance test, the treatment group (those who received green tea) demonstrated better blood sugar tolerance than the placebo group. [26].

A separate study found that green tea extract improved insulin sensitivity by 13% in healthy young men.[27] And to top it off, a meta-analysis of 17 studies concluded that green tea extract is useful in reducing fasting blood sugar levels and levels of hemoglobin A1C, a key indicator used by doctors to measure the progression of diabetes. [28]

Supports Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the #1 cause of death globally.[29] Two of the key contributors to the development and progression of heart disease are hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

Accumulation of oxidative stress leads to build up of fat in the blood. This fosters elevated cholesterol levels, inflammation in the arteries, and eventually high blood pressure. [30,31]

Fortunately, the potent polyphenols and antioxidants naturally occurring in green tea and green tea extract may help combat inflammation and reduce high blood pressure. [31,32,33]

One study of note gave obese subjects with hypertension green tea extract daily for three months. At the end of the trial, subjects demonstrated significant reductions in blood pressure and blood lipids (LDL cholesterol and triglycerides). [33]

A separate trial noted that daily ingestion of 250 mg of green tea extract over eight weeks decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by 4.5% and total cholesterol by 3.9%. [34]

May Combat Signs of Aging and Boost Longevity

Green tea and green tea extracts are naturally rich in antioxidants. The polyphenols in green tea, such as EGCG, may help protect against UVB light-induced skin disorders associated with DNA damage and immune system suppression. [36,37]

A review of green tea’s effects regarding dermatology noted that when applied directly to the skin, green tea extract improved symptoms of many skin problems, including dermatitis and rosacea. The potent extract has also been documented to help with acne and skin aging.[37,38,39]

Due to the extraordinary skin-protecting measures of green tea and its polyphenols, Steel Beauty includes a potent green tea extract standardized to 80% catechins and 50% EGCG.

Lastly, green tea may also help increase longevity due to the full range of benefits it offers in regard to protecting against oxidative stress, decreasing risk factors associated with different cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and promoting cognitive health.

A rather large study, involving 40,530 Japanese adults, found that those who drank the most green tea (5+ cups per day) had a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality over 11 years. [40]

The Bottom Line on Green Tea

Green tea is a centuries-old beverage that tastes great, is high in antioxidants, and has been documented numerous times to help improve health and body composition.

Regardless if your goal is muscle gain, fat loss, increased productivity, or more significant health and wellness, green tea has something to offer. Even better, green tea is exceptionally accessible and affordable both in liquid form or as a dietary supplement. And if you’re seeking better fat loss, performance, or health, you might want to consider adding more green tea into your life.

References

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