It’s no secret that green tea is an effective weight loss tool. After all, green tea extract has been listed as the primary ingredient in many different diet and sports supplements for decades now.
However, it’s also been hotly debated if the way you consume green tea matters. For example: does green tea extract work just as well as a cup of regular green tea? Does flavoring or icing your green tea make it less effective? And can you really expect to get the same health benefits from a delicious green tea smoothie for weight loss?
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How Green Tea Works
In order to answer all of those questions, it’s important to help you understand what makes green tea work for weight loss. First and foremost, green tea contains a mild amount of caffeine. Several studies have consistently shown that caffeine is a stimulant that helps aid the body in fat burning and also improves overall exercise performance.
Green tea contains a considerably less amount of caffeine than a standard cup of coffee (about 75-140 milligrams less), but it’s still enough to have a positive impact on fighting fat and boosting energy levels.
Green tea is also packed with powerful antioxidants called “catchechins” that can help increase your metabolism. The most powerful of these catchechins is a substance named “ECEG” (Epigallocatechin gallate). ECEG increases the levels of hormones which tell your body’s fat cells to break down the fat. After it is broken down, the fat flows into the bloodstream and is used as energy.
The reason that green tea has natural caffeine and so many antioxidants is that these components are not broken down during processing like they are in many other foods. In fact, green tea requires very little food processing.
So for this reason, it doesn’t really matter how you consume your green tea. You can boil it, ice it, blend it or flavor it and its nutrient properties will remain pretty much the same. The same is true when it comes to green tea extract: experts maintain that about 1 milliliter of green tea extract is equivalent to around 8-10 cups of regular green tea.
The only element that can really impair the healthy of effects of green tea is how you sweeten it. If you add a lot of sugar to your green tea, this could essentially cancel out all the positive impact. It’s loading on extra, unncessary calories, plus it’s a lot harder for your body to break down sugar, so it gets stored as fat. If you must sweeten your green tea, stick to a small serving of a honey or a natural sweetener like Stevia extract.
Additional Health Benefits of Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea extract aren’t solely reserved for weight loss. Other proven advantages of drinking green tea include:
- Improves mental alertness
- Helps fight the flu
- Helps protect against different types of cancer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Supports bone strength
- Protects the liver
- Boosts physical endurance
Recommended Green Tea Servings
So how much green tea do you have to drink to burn fat and receive other health benefits? A recent study published in the “Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition” reported that green tea can significantly help reduce body fat and increase fat oxidation rates, when combined with exercise.
However, to reap the maximum benefits, the dosage required is close to six or seven cups of green tea each day. That’s an awful lot of green tea… and an easy way to get burnt on the antioxidant-packed drink quickly.
To get the recommended about of green tea each day, mix up how you drink it! Green tea doesn’t have to be boring: try different flavors of green tea or try mixing green tea extract with a glass of water. You can also incorporate green tea into other beverages like the healthy smoothie recipe listed below.
Green Tea Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup of green tea (brewed – but cooled)
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1/2 cup of berries (fresh or frozen – your choice!)
- 1/3 cup of yogurt
- 1 scoop of your favorite flavor of protein powder
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender. Then blend on the highest speed for up to 45 seconds or until you reach your ideal consistency. The result is approximately 174 calories, 5 grams of fat and one incredibly tasty green tea smoothie for weight loss!