Have you got the green tea bug yet?
As an online fitness trainer, I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about everything from exercise and diet, to supplementation and weight maintenance. One of the biggest trends that I’ve seen of late, is the rising demand for “green tea extract” as a workout supplement.
Green tea is actually nothing new. In fact, its popularity stems all the way back to ancient china, where people drank green tea during Emperor Shennong’s reign. So, why is green tea all over the news today? The simple answer is that it could help to improve your exercise routine, assist you in losing fat faster, and enhance your heart health too.
Notice that I said it “could” do those things. The evidence behind green tea extract, and the claims that people make when attempting to sell it are often very divided.
So, what’s the truth?
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about green tea extract, and what it can do for your body.
What is Green Tea Extract?
Green tea extract is exactly what it sounds like – green tea leaves prepared in a powdered form, so you can use it as a supplement. You can also get green tea extract in pill form if you prefer to take it that way.
Clinically speaking, there shouldn’t be any real difference between drinking your green tea and taking it as an extract – so if you enjoy the taste, you might as well put the kettle on instead.
The reason that so many people think green tea is beneficial, is that it’s packed full of substances called polyphenols – a substance that plants produce to protect themselves against various disease-causing organisms and radiation. Green tea extract can also contain small amounts of caffeine – which can sometimes help with your workout.
So, how will green tea extract contribute to your results-driven workout routine?
Fat Loss and Green Tea Extract
Perhaps the biggest reason that anyone considers supplementing with green tea extract is that they want to increase the amount of fat they lose from their exercise and diet strategy. The good news is that green tea extract seems to genuinely assist with getting rid of fat – although it’s not totally clear how much help it gives you.
Studies suggest that taking green tea extract for up to 12 weeks helps participants to lose anywhere between 0.5 to 8 pounds. Obviously, there’s a lot of discrepancy there, but the reason for this wide range could simply be that people respond differently to green tea.
Weight Maintenance and Green Tea Extract
Importantly, studies don’t just suggest that you can lose fat with green tea extract, but that you can keep that fat off too. Although you’ll still need to use a proper diet and exercise routine to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your green tea supplementation, research indicates that green tea extract will help you to maintain your diet for longer.
The researchers in the study linked above wanted to see how supplementing with a green tea extract substance could support weight loss maintenance, and they did this by looking at 11 randomised and controlled trials lasting twelve weeks. After they checked the data, the scientists found that people taking green tea extract after they lost weight were more likely to keep that weight off.
Joint Health and Green Tea Extract
Not only could Green Tea help your body to look better, but it could assist in making it feel better too – according to some studies. Many people claim that drinking green tea has helped them to manage their joint pain, and studies suggest that this may be true.
One study into small groups of human cells found that green tea extract is effective at reducing inflammation. Of course, it is worth noting that there has only been one study into green tea and joint pain on humans so far, and that study found that people who took green tea extract alongside a common painkiller experienced more mobility and less discomfort than people who just took the painkiller.
Immune Health and Green Tea Extract
So, green tea can make your joints feel better, but how can it help you with other things – like your gut health and your immune system? According to studies in vitro, green tea extract can be great at killing viruses and bacteria. Although no studies so far have found that it works directly to make your immune system more powerful, one piece of research found that it could be effective at making you healthier by improving gut health.
One study found that just by drinking two cups of green tea every day, people could reduce the number of inflammatory compounds associated with infections in their systems. Green tea also improves the production of short-chain fatty acids which are helpful for gut health.
Various compounds in green tea, including EGCG can help to suppress bad bacteria, which decreases the number of illnesses that can get into your system, all the way from infectious illnesses, to heart disease and obesity.
Heart Disease and Green Tea Extract
Speaking of the diseases that green tea may be able to protect you against, there seems to be particularly strong evidence that the substance can reduce your risk of heart disease. It does this by limiting the amount of LDL or bad cholesterol in your system, while improving your HDL cholesterol levels.
Importantly, in the studies conducted into heart disease and green tea extract, the results seem to be most potent for people who already have high levels of LDL and lower levels of HDL cholesterol. This means you might not see much of a benefit if you’re healthy already.
Muscle Soreness and Green Tea Extract
Finally, another way that green tea extract can help you to get measurable results from your workouts, is by getting rid of the high levels of muscle soreness you feel when you’re lifting weights and doing bench presses. When you lift weights, you cause small tears in your muscle fibres that push your muscles to get bigger and stronger. The problem is that too much damage can cause you to fall behind in your training, and your recovery.
Green tea extract seems to strengthen the antioxidant defence systems that the human body already has in place, helping you to recover faster after a workout. In other words, you get great results faster, with less pain.
Finishing Thoughts on Green Tea Extract
Ultimately, green tea extract seems to be one of the few supplements on the market today that can genuinely help to improve your body composition and health. It helps you to lose fat faster, maintain your weight loss, and even protect yourself against disease. If you’re not already making yourself a cup of tea, now might be the time to try green tea extract for yourself.
Personal Trainer London
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