Many of us are self-conscious when we gain extra body weight. The extra fat that puts our body out of proportion prevents us from socializing and living a happy life. The psychological effects can be extreme in some cases. Due to excess body weight we lose self-esteem, and some people suffer from mental disorders such as depression. In an effort to lose weight people often resort to diet pills and other unhealthy ways. The most effective way to stay slim and healthy is to exercise and eat a balanced diet.
People excessively diet and try to keep away from their most tempting foods to reduce the intake of calories. This way, they fail to take foods that actually provide the necessary nutrients needed by the body. We go through so much, when there is a natural way to stay slim and healthy. Ever wondered why Asians are slimmer and have more beautiful skin than most people from elsewhere? It’s because they have been drinking tea for centuries.
That’s right. Tea is the answer to this entire excess fat problem. Out of all the varieties of teas, green tea is the most beneficial, possessing various health benefits and promoting weight loss. Drinking green tea while assuming a healthy diet and exercise regime will help you lose weight faster and healthily. But why green tea? What is green tea? One might also wonder whether there actually are different types of teas and if there are big differences between them. In fact there are three major types of tea: red tea, white tea and oolong tea.
The concentration of polyphenols (antioxidants) differs among the three types of teas. Before we proceed to antioxidants in tea, we should know what antioxidants are. These are substances that prevent the process of oxidation. Now you will be wondering what oxidation is all about. It is not intended to turn this article into a chemistry lesson, but learning about antioxidants will help you understand how they promote good health and weight loss.
Oxidation is the interaction between oxygen and a substance it comes across. In this contact between oxygen and other substances, oxygen gets reduced by the gain of electrons from the substance leaving the substance with fewer electrons than it started with. This leaves the substance charged (positively, as it lost electrons). In the body, this can split long chains of molecules into intermediary molecules that are charged. These molecules (as they are charged) are very unstable and prone to react with other substances in the body.
The unstable, positively charged molecules in the body produced in oxidation reactions are referred to as free radicals and they can react with useful, functioning molecules in the body and cause damage. Free radicals are not produced in large quantities, unless we are subjected to toxic oxidizers such as those present in food additives, pollutants, cigarette smoke and pesticides. The body naturally produces antioxidants and they remove free radicals that are naturally produced in the body, as in the process of metabolism.
Antioxidants remove and prevent the formation of excessive free radicals in the body. They do this by donating electrons to free radicals and balancing the charge on them; in other words free radicals get neutralized. Oxidation by free radicals is a continuous series of reactions that can result in significant damage to body systems. Antioxidants therefore protect our body from the disastrous effects of free radicals.
Let’s come back to green tea, the focus of this article. Green tea is a natural source of antioxidants called polyphenols. Among the three types of teas, green tea has the highest concentration of polyphenols. There are also other antioxidants such as carotenoids, vitamin C and tocopherols in green tea. A subgroup of polyphenols called catechins is found exclusively in green tea. Among these catechins, EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is the most powerful and abundant in green tea. EGCG possess antioxidant properties much more powerful than the antioxidant vitamin E.
The antioxidants present in green tea protect the body from diseases. They reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent cancers. They are also believed to slow down the aging process and reduce age related diseases. They protect the skin from damage by harmful radiation. In addition to these health benefits that green tea provides, they also have a pronounced impact on weight loss. The catechins in green tea reduce body fat and help prevent obesity and other life-style related diseases.
Catechins in green tea promote energy expenditure as it increases thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the rate at which calories are burned. Catechins also stimulate fat oxidation (the process by which stored lipids in the body are converted into smaller molecules from which energy can be released). The process of fat oxidation, therefore uses up the stack of fat stores in the body, helping us keep our desired shape and figure. It is no secret that green tea drinkers get many health benefits and that green tea helps them to stay slim. In order to get the maximum benefits of green tea, one should take at least five cups of green tea per day.
This article also appears in triond.com.