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Calorie Count Blog

The Wonders of Green Tea


By Mary_RD on Apr 13, 2011 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating
Edited By +Rachel Berman

By Mary Hartley, RD

After water, tea is the world’s most popular drink, but what of the green tea variety?  It is continually being studied by those who wonder if it is an elixir to prevent chronic diseases.  For at least 20 years, Lipton Tea has has an interest in enriching foods with the active substances in tea.  Dr. Harold N. Graham, retired director of research for the Thomas J. Lipton Company, told the New York Times in 1991, "Once we determine which components of tea are most useful pharmaceutically, it should be possible to produce teas that are highly beneficial.” 

Why GREEN Tea?

Green tea, oolong tea and black tea all come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis; the difference is in the processing.  Green tea is unfermented, oolong is semi-fermented and black tea is a fermented product. 

The good stuff in green tea is the antioxidants, a group of polyphenols called ‘catechins’.  Catechins may prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer and protect against inflammation.  Green tea has the most catechins because of how it’s processed: the leaves are briefly heated before they are dried, which denuders the enzymes that breakdown the catechins, and so the potent antioxidants remain. 

“The cathechin in green tea, epigallocathechin gallate (EGCG), is more than 100 times as effective at neutralizing free radicals as vitamin C, a well known antioxidant,” said Dr. Lester Mitscher, professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas and author of The Green Tea Book. Studies reported in a consumer publication from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston suggest that a regular intake of three cups a day may be enough to derive the benefits.  

Green Tea for Weight Loss

Green tea may have a role in boosting metabolism and burning fat, which may, theoretically, help to control weight. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that green tea was associated with depositing less fat, burning more fat burning and better insulin sensitivity.  The active substance in green tea produced metabolic rises both during exercise and while at rest. The authors concluded that 3 or 4 cups of green tea could increase metabolic rate by 4% over 24-hours, and that translates into burning 50 to 100 extra calories a day.  Every little bit helps,

Green Leaf Tea vs. GTE

In research studies, Green Tea Extract (GTE) is often used instead of green tea leaves.  GTE is created when strong infusions of concentrated extract are dehydrated and formed into a tablet, capsule, or dry mix.  A dose of 880 to 1500 milligrams of GTE a day is often used in studies, but according to Beth Israel Deaconess, liver inflammation has been reported with large doses of GTE.  Also beware that the GTE sold to the public might not be safe.  In a 2006 analysis performed by Consumer Labs, some of the tested products contained lead. 
There is also some concern that large amounts of green tea might be unsafe for pregnant women, and all tea drinkers should note that the tannins in tea reduce iron absorption and so those who are susceptible to iron deficiency anemia should not drink tea with meals.

Although grocers advertise green tea as if it were one type, there are actually a variety of types that boast different flavors.  Far East specialty stores have the widest variety of green teas. Opt for the loose leaf teas as opposed to the pre-made tea bags as those may be of poorer quality.

Want some variety in your green tea drinking?  Try this recipe for a Green Tea Smoothie provided by the New York Times. 


Your thoughts....

Do you drink green tea or use GTE?



Comments


I drink several cups of green tea a day, I am a great believer in it for general health reasons and if it helps to lose weight, that's great.  http://health-concerns.net/

 



I've been drinking two cups of Oolong tea a day and it seems to help weight loss. I also take Conjugated Linoleic Acid, 2 a day 1000mg, pineapple extract and a herbal tea called Dr Ernst's tisane for slimming.



I make a 6 cup tea  pot every morning with green tea add a tbsp of honey and drink throughout the mmorning , can not say about the weight loss as I have gained weight .



I use green tea, and white tea every day, I also use it in my workshops to demonstrate how good and nutritious a drink it is to our bodies. If only we could get everyone to understand the power this great tea has.... Jean Sampson. www.therightlifestyle.com

 



I'm a huge green tea drinker - at least 3 to 4 cups a day, but recently I switched to decaf green tea as a healthier choice.  Does anyone know whether the decaf version has the same benefits as the regular, caffeinated green tea leaf?



What happens if you don't like tea?  I've tried many different teas, and I just don't like it.  I'm a coffee person.  Are there any ways to get these benefits by combining them in a recipe some way?



i am always confused abt green tea...is the method of making it same as regular tea with water and some milk or it is the one we get in bottles...??...which is the best? pls suggest!!

 

thnx



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I drink 4 cups of green tea a day. I absolutely love the flavor of it. I couldn't get through a day without it. It soothes me,warms me, and comforts me. I am a food addict, so now I use the tea as a "comfort tool" instead. 



I love regular tea but normally don't enjoy green tea.  Any suggestions on how I can prepare it so I enjoy the taste of it?



Does cold green tea (ie Liptons) count?


I drink cold green tea made with Lipton's tea bags (1 bag per quart) all day long.  I love it!



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I always put a bag of Green tea to my regular Lipton tea...do I still get the benefitSmile



Original Post by: qazklh

What happens if you don't like tea?  I've tried many different teas, and I just don't like it.  I'm a coffee person.  Are there any ways to get these benefits by combining them in a recipe some way?


There are lots of delicious flavors out there to try (which I'm sure you have) but sometimes I like to make an orange spice or a mint green tea and ice it down with a little splenda or honey.  When it's iced, it changes the dynamic a lot and is very refreshing - with all the same benefits Smile



Best green tea drink in my opinion is at starbucks- green tea frappicino- 2 splenda,nonfat milk, and 2-3 scoops of protein powder. Yum!!! Plus its good recovery drink after a workout or thats what i use it for.


I enjoy GTE. I've never had real green tea leaves. I've been living to try it though. I plan on buying some real soon. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Tea isn't just healthy to me. It actually soothes me. I even drink tea that puts me to sleep. The varities are endless. For those who don't like it you gotta try pharmaceutical teas. They come in a variety of flavors! They help with a variety of problems.



@todritter - As the article says - the antioxidants in green tree are 100 x more powerful than vitamin C.  Yes there are antioxidants in the foods you mention, but not catechins, which are more powerful.  There are many types of antioxidants and they are not all equal.

Try genmai ocha if you don't like the taste of regular green tea.  Sometimes sold as sushi bar tea it has roasted grain in it and it gives the tea a really good flavor.

I drink black tea in the morning and green tea in the afternoon.  It keeps me from mindless munching.  I would call myself a coffee person as well, however, I made the concious decision that tea would be healthier to drink all day and coffee is my treat now.



Original Post by: apraj123

i am always confused abt green tea...is the method of making it same as regular tea with water and some milk or it is the one we get in bottles...??...which is the best? pls suggest!!

 

thnx


Green Tea can be the tea bag in hot water. You can add milk or honey but I find it tastes great without anything added. You can also get cold green tea in the bottle but be sure to check how much sugar is added.



I switched gradually--first I quit coffee for black tea, than I started drinking black in the mornings and green or white or herbal the rest of the day, now it's pretty much green tea throughout the day unless I need a serious kick in the pants in the afternoon, then I do black.  Yogi Tea makes a Green Tea Super Antioxidant that is my new favorite-it has berries and I think a bit of citrus flavor to it.  I'm going to go make another cup now. . . .



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What is the difference in results between black, oolong and green?  I really prefer black tea.  



I drink iced Jasine Green tea all day long.  I love the taste of it, belive it is good for you, but do not notice any weight loss benefits.  much better than sodaSmile



I drink Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls jasmine green from Teavana. It's $6 an ounce, but it's heavenly, and I usually resteep and get two 30 ounce pots of tea a day.



I love tea, but I'm allergic to it.  They keep putting green tea in all kinds of stuff and I have to be so careful... even vitamins!  I always know when I've accidentally eaten or drank something with tea in it within minutes... my stomach starts burning and I know soon I'll be in the bathroom throwing my guts up.  Not fun! :( 



Does anyone know if there is specifically a "cafeine free" green tea???  I might try green tea if it were "caffeine free"--not just de-caffeinated.  There is a difference. If there is such an animal, would it have the same benefits as regular green tea?



Original Post by: heathertanton

Does cold green tea (ie Liptons) count?

I have the same question. Is the effect the same or does it really have to be hot tea? Because for some reason, I like green tea when it's cold but not when it's hot (same with coffee) XD



I'm a tea lover from way back--an armchair aficionado, really. All types of tea are just so good for you in so many ways!

Flavored green teas can help those who don't like the bitterness of plain tea as much. Most tea shops have a wide variety of green teas. But if you're getting your tea at the supermarket, your choices will be extremely limited, and it's hard to find one with good flavor. Instead, try ordering some online from a place like Tealuxe or Teavana. My favorites come from the Dushanbe Tea House. Celestial Seasonings has some nice flavored greens you can find at the supermarket or order online: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products/category.html/gr een-teas.

Display teas are nice, too. They're tea "drops" that are designed to "bloom" in a glass tea pot or cup. Some are black and oolong, but most are green. You can add hot water to the pot throughout the day and get many cups of tea from one drop. Here's an example, though many places have them: http://www.tealaden.com/flowering_teas/tea_drops.htm

On the less ornate side, in the summer, I like to make a green iced tea with fresh mint leaves and a little lemon. It helps to soften the bitter flavor of the tea. You can also add a little bit of fresh lemon and honey, or perhaps a splash or two of your favorite pure juice (peach is lovely!)--just not too much.

Always remember that other herbal "teas" are not really tea. They don't have any of the Camellia sinensis plant in them, and that's the only thing that constitutes the tea described above. For clarification, any other herbal infused beverage (including those made with rooibos, chamomile, etc.) is technically called a "tisane." Most people don't know that, so the confusion persists. But if it doesn't have Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, it doesn't have the benefits described above.



Original Post by: qazklh

What happens if you don't like tea?  I've tried many different teas, and I just don't like it.  I'm a coffee person.  Are there any ways to get these benefits by combining them in a recipe some way?


blend tea into a smoothie. 
example:

3/4 cup green / orange spice tea, cooled

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

1 ripe banana, cooled

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup tofu

 

anything like this, & frozen items or oats are going to make it thicker.



Cold green tea is fine. It's the same plant, brewed the same way, and just cooled off.

As someone else noted, though, bottled green teas tend to contain a LOT of sugar. I would recommend making your own and sweetening it yourself with honey, agave nectar, or even stevia powder, to avoid the chemicals and processing that go into the bottled teas.

It's like any other food--the fewer hands it goes through before it gets to yours, the healthier it is.



For those who don't like green tea, be sure you're brewing it correctly/according to instructions.  It's really easy to turn a green tea bitter.  Usually, green teas are brewed with water that is around 165-170 degrees (not boiling water).  If you use too hot of water, it can turn the tea bitter.  Also, it should only steep for about 2 minutes.  Again, if it steeps for too long, it can turn the tea bitter.  Also, be sure to taste several different kinds of green tea - the flavors can be incredibly different from green tea to green tea.  If you live in a big city, find a tea shop and ask if they have tea tastings.  If you don't have a tea shop nearby, search the internet for some online stores and look for sampler boxes.



There are caffeine free green teas--check my link for Celestial Seasonings, above. As far as I know, decaffeinating the tea does not have any negative effect.

However, also bear in mind that green tea has about half the amount of caffeine as compared to coffee. However, it's a myth that green teas (and white teas) have less caffeine than black teas. They're often the same, and the amount varies with the type of tea. Oolong sometimes has less than green or black teas.



I steep 6 Trader Joe's Green Tea + 2 White Tea w/Pomegranate in 2 qts of water then pour it in a 1 gallon jug and top it off with more water and put it in the fridge. Between myself, my wife and daughter, it last about 3 days. A great alternative to soda or plain water.



Ah--I see I misread the question about caffeine.

No, there is no naturally caffeine free tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea comes from that plant, so is not caffeine free.

I know someone who cannot enjoy the benefits of green tea for that reason--she can't have caffeine, so she can't drink tea.



I love all types of tea, but a strong earthy green tea is my favorite. I always brew loose leaf tea because I like the flavor and strength associated with it better. I don't know about weight loss, because I started drinking green tea in conjunction with eating healthy, but I do feel "healthier" when I drink it, just better all around. Although green tea is my "comfort" type of beverage, so I'm sure that is part of it. I really recommend trying loose leaf brewing if you haven't already. You can get a "tea ball" to put the leaves in that acts just like a tea bag. Much better quality.



I really really really hate the taste of Green Tea, and have tried so very many different ones to see if there might be one I like, with no luck.  I take GT supplements that I get at Target and they seem to work just fine for me!  :)



I enjoy drinking green tea but I have recently been using a supplment sold by Walgreens that has gree tea extracts paired with some other herbs and roots, chromium and calcium.  It's really been helping me with curbing the appetite.  This may be in part because you are supposed to drink a full eight ounces of water with it when you take it. 

One thing that people need to be aware of is that you can have too much of a good thing.  Green tea (or other teas) has a diuretic affect.  They will make you need to go to the bathroom much more frequently and if you are drinking too much and not enough water in addition, you run the risk of dehyration and all that comes along with it. 

I was driking a lot of iced green tea at one point and on the days I didn't drink plenty of water I was getting leg cramps during my workouts.  I'm certain it was because I was dehyrated. 

Keep drinking that tea for the antioxidents, but drink plenty of water too.  I read somewhere that you actually need to drink more water if you drink tea because of this diuretic affect. 

 



My afternoon snack is often a cup or two of green tea (I get mine at Adagio) with a spoonful of coconut oil stirred in - instant energy to get me through the afternoon! Oolong tea has most of the same benefits as green tea, and I enjoy that fairly often as well. The base is regular black tea, so it is lacking the beneficials of green or oolong teas, but I consider it a bit of heaven is chai tea - and I love a variety of flavorings - with a tablespoon of cream (the real, heavy whipping stuff) and coconut oil. It's my dessert! 



I love green tea. I find it is definitely bitter on it's own, but there are ways around that. I like matcha powder. You can get it at Asian markets and it's sweetened powdered tea. You can add it to all kinds of things. Smoothies, yogurt, ice cream. You can even make a green tea latte by adding it to milk or milk substitute. It is fabulous. I found that drinking green tea makes me feel good. It is now my go to drink instead of soda or juice.



I make a large pot of tea every other day and drink it cold, ice tea. I wasn't a huge fan of green tea at first so I added it in slowly. I was steeping  3 black tea bag, then I did 2 black tea bag one green tea bag. It only took a few weeks before I was brewing straight green tea. Love it now. I also no longer sweeten my tea, hot or cold. Did the same thing. Slowly cut out the sugar until it was totally out. 



I use the tea bags an make iced/sun tea and drink well over 1/2 gallon most days. It's more diluted than a regular cup of hot tea, but so very light and refreshing. It takes me no time at all to get my 8 glasses a day.



IF YOU THINK YOU DO NOT LIKE GREEN TEA -

 

Are you infusing using boiling water? This burns the leaves giving a bitter, horrible taste. Add 1/4 cold water in your cup or pot, add boiling water, THEN infuse for 2-3 minutes.

 

Are you using tea bags or poor quality tea? This kind of tea is from the older leaves and will give a flavourless, flat taste. Try

 

Try adding various herbs to your green tea - ginger, rose and mint are great. Or try adding citrus peel for a tangy zing. In summer, infusing a spoon of green tea in 80degree water for 2 minutes, add lots of ice and crushed fruit and mint.

 

Try this website for delicious flavoured green teas - pineapple, strawberry, lychee, and so many more! theteafarm.com

jacqelman -

 

Decaffinated green tea does not have the same health benefits. Be very careful – green teas are decaffeinated by either the Swiss water method (safe) or by using chemicals (avoid!). You can decaffinate tea yourself by infusing the leaves for 30 seconds, throwing out that water then re-infusing. This is similar to the Swiss water method and will remove many of the health benefits but lower the caffeine content by 70%. Try rooibos or honeybush tea for a healthful, antioxidant rich tea that is caffeine free.

I have worked in a boutique tea store for 5 years - I only used to drink mint in boiling water, now my tea collection numbers around 40 teas. (I usually drink 3 cups before 10am!)



The way to get better benefits from green tea, is by adding lemon juice in it.  Do not put honey in the green tea or milk.  Just one tsp of sugar and couple squirts of lemon juice.



lemon, lime or any citus works well, it will increase the absorption of antioxidants. why not honey?



The best green tea I've had is Numi Green Leaf Mate tea. I drink 2 cups of  it every morning.

http://www.numitea.com/Mate-Lemon/p/NUMI-10250&c=NumiTea @Teabag@Green



I have been a coffee only drinker since age 7 as I really don't like the taste nor the smell of tea. I persevered with hot green tea but never really got the taste for it but I have found that drinking cold green tea, ready made, is quite acceptable. The best I have found is the Sweet Leaf brand, diet citrus flavour. It is made with natural ingredients according to their label and doesn't have the chemical aftertaste that Lipton diet citrus has. It's a bit difficult to track down however, they have a range of teas with sugar which seem a lot more available than their diet citrus... HEB seems the most reliable source. Honestly... it tastes great.



i drink green tea cant say i like it yet but i feel like it increases my metabolism and now i know its like vitamin c i am well sold on it



I have recently started green tea and find it amazingly refreshing. Trying to cultivate a habit of having it sugar less to avoid extra calories and slowly getting used to it as well. somehow (apart from healthy reasons) green tea feels correct. 



I am looking for a cold green tea in a bottle without any sugar or any artificial sweeteners.  Everything I find has one or  the other.  I just want the taste of tea.  A little mint or lemon would be okay, but I don't want the sweet taste.  Any suggestions?



Boil water, add tea bags, wait, pour over ice, duh!!



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