In an article on Good Housekeeping (GH), Nutrition Director Jacklyn London helps debunk 10 claims about green tea. London also confirms some of the health benefits of the popular superfood.
Green tea and matcha are two different things.
Matcha is still part of the green tea "family," but it undergoes a slightly different farming process. Matcha is consumed in powder form instead of whole leaf form, which means matcha is a more concentrated version of green tea.
Choose matcha if you want to consume the higher caffeine and theanine version of green tea.
Green tea can boost your metabolism.
Some small-scale studies have determined a connection between an increased metabolic rate and the consumption of at least four cups of green tea daily. London noted that "the only truly variable factor in your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is increasing your lean body mass, a.k.a. building muscle."
To boost your metabolism for the long-term, start strength training. This kind of training is essential for bone, immune, and muscle function, and these three factors can help support metabolism over time.
Green tea can burn belly fat.
This claim is false, especially since there is no food or drink that can "spot train" specific body parts. Once you make changes to your diet for a new plan where you burn more energy than you consume, chances are you'll be burning off some additional fat mass, especially around your stomach.
Beware of green tea beverages, such as green tea "flavored" drinks, sparkling green teas with added sugar, and sugary lattes. These sugary beverages are often associated with weight gain over time, particularly near your abdomen.
Green tea can lower cancer risk.
Research data has confirmed that green tea does contain antioxidant compounds that can help fight cancer. But other plant-based diets are always associated with a minimized cancer risk, along with other chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease.
Eating lots of vegetables and drinking unsweetened green tea ensures that your diet contains polyphenolic compounds, a type of antioxidant that can help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases by boosting the cellular function of tissues, which helps prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Green tea can promote weight loss.
A person who often drinks sugary beverages like energy drinks, soda, or sweetened coffee and tea regularly will lose weight once they switch to unsweetened green tea. The number one source of added sugar and added calories in the American diet is sugar-sweetened beverages, so always choose a calorie-free alternative.
To lose weight for the long-term, make healthier choices and stay hydrated with sugar-free drinks.
Green tea can prevent heart disease.
In population studies, individuals who often consume unsweetened green tea "are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease later in life." However, a lot of these population studies are specific to region and genetics. To illustrate, studies conducted in Japan and Taiwan, where green tea is "consumed regularly and consistently," often involve people who could have a genetic predisposition to the benefits of green tea.
Meanwhile, population studies conducted in the U.S. and in other countries suggest that there is a connection between the consumption of unsweetened versions of any kind of tea with better cardiovascular health and minimized chances of developing other types of chronic diseases, particularly those linked with obesity. (Related: Daily green tea consumption found to slash dementia risk by up to 86%.)
Green tea has anti-aging properties.
Green tea has antioxidants that scavenge for free-radicals in the cells of the body. These antioxidants can help protect and prevent damage to tissues, such as skin. However, no single food or beverage can cure cancer.
Health experts from the GH Health, Beauty and Environmental Labs noted that green tea catechins called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can help protect skin from UV damage. EGCG is a natural polyphenol antioxidant that can also help prevent cell damage.
Green tea helps lower blood sugar.
Drinking unsweetened green tea can help lower blood sugar. Just make sure you're not drinking green tea-flavored drinks that are full of sweeteners.
Green tea is caffeine-free.
While this claim isn't always true, some types of green tea are caffeine-free. If you're trying to cut down on coffee, green tea is a great alternative because it has a lower caffeine content.
A cup of home-brewed coffee contains at least 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. On the other hand, tea only contains about 25 to 50 mg, depending on the type of tea and brew strength.
Green tea has calming properties.
Green tea's calming effect may vary. It contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is associated with alertness and mood-enhancement. Study findings show that l-theanine consumption is linked to "reduced anxiety and improved focus." This benefit is highly based on personal tolerance, so skip the green tea if you're sensitive to caffeine.
Drink green tea regularly to enjoy the benefits above and to boost your overall health.
Read more articles about healthier food options at SuperFoods.news.