By Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS
Green tea has been used for thousands of years throughout India, China, and Japan as a panacea for longevity and health. Green tea is a member the Theaceae family of plants and contains numerous key nutrients that can help sedentary and active people improve overall health, lose weight, and fight inflammation.
Green tea is a wonderful tonic for overall health and has an amazing array of health promoting benefits. It contains some of the highest concentration of powerful anti-oxidants, which help protect the body’s DNA and cell membranes. It lowers total cholesterol levels and increases good ‘heart healthy’ HDL cholesterol. It also inhibits cancer cell growth and is protective against breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. It’s amazing that one plant can have such a profound impact on so many systems of the body.
Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, which helps increase fat burning in the body. Fat is an important fuel for exercise, increasing your endurance and therefore your overall performance. EGCG can trigger the release of stored body fat to be used as fuel for movement and exercise. This is a great way to accelerate weight loss and reduce risk a chronic diseases.
The benefits of green tea don’t stop there. It contains naturally occurring caffeine that inhibits a very important enzyme called COMT. When this enzyme is inhibited it prolongs the fat burning effect of EGCG due to the presence of the naturally occurring caffeine in green tea. This synergistic effect is why it’s important to actually drink green tea, rather than simply take supplements.
Green tea is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, containing over fifty-one anti-inflammatory compounds. One in particular is especially potent. Apigenin, a citrus bioflavanoid, is an active inhibitor of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2). The ability to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme is the same mechanism used to stop inflammation by the popular over–the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil or Ibuprofen. These drugs have many side-effects, including stomach ulcers, liver and kidney damage, and have been shown to cause intestinal hyper-permeability or leaky gut.
Inflammation is thought to be the root cause of many chronic diseases. Green tea blocks the formation of uric acid, another important and well-recognized medical marker for systemic inflammation. Green tea not only reduces inflammation and but also contains over 50 anti-ulcer compounds.
Add a cup of green tea to your day to start reaping the many health and performance benefits of green tea. If you are an avid coffee drinker, try substituting your afternoon coffee for green tea. You’ll not only boost your antioxidant levels, but your overall health as well!
Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS, is a Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author, Speaker, and Blogger practicing in Toronto, Canada. He believes that diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors have the most profound impact on your overall health and performance. Marc is the author of The Paleo Project – A 21st Guide to Looking Leaner, Getting Stronger, & Living Longer and currently serves as the Sports Nutrition Lead for Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS