For years, people have been raving about the endless benefits of green tea.
Traditionally in Chinese medicine, green tea has been used as a remedy for many ailments. Green tea is most widely promoted as a natural energy booster and an assistant in weight loss. The hype surrounding green tea is big. Many seem to believe it is the answer to natural weight loss. But it just seems too good to be true.
Is traditional green tea truly the answer everyone is looking for?
Green tea, also known as camellia sinensis, was originally cultivated in China and India. It gained popularity through its use in many forms of traditional Asian medicine. Initially used as a stimulant, diuretic and astringent, it was later popularized for its potent antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, it works to rid the body of free radicals caused by everyday training, stress and environmental toxins. Through relatively recent research, it has also gained popularity in the areas of weight loss, blood sugar regulation, and for promoting digestion and improving mental processes.
So how does green tea aid in weight loss? Research has indicated that substances in green tea known as polyphenols, specifically the catechins, are responsible for the tea's fat-burning effect. Further studies indicate that the combination of green tea and caffeine helps to increase the rate of weight loss in overweight to obese individuals
Why green tea?
Although green, black and oolong teas all originate from the same plant (camellia sinensis), their compounds are actually quite different. This difference is created in the cultivation of the tea leaf. Black and oolong tea leaves are fermented during cultivation, causing the polyphenols to oxidize into different compounds that are not as effective in fat burning. The leaves of green teas are steamed and remain unfermented, which helps protect the polyphenols from oxidizing.
So green tea works, but is Asian green tea really the answer to natural weight loss supplementation?
While our friends in India and China may have been on the right track, countries such as Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil have been basking in the benefits of an even more potent tea leaf: Yerba Mat'e Green Tea. This green tea leaf, which is native to the subtropical Atlantic rainforest, includes a powerful capacity, as it is naturally complete with 196 active compounds. It also includes 11 polyphenols, 8 vitamins including A, B, C and E, and 8 essential trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and selenium - all of which help to improve and increase fatty acid oxidation.
Yerba Mat'e is a stimulant similar to caffeine, known to help increase focus and alertness by giving your brain a boost without making you feel nervous. The chemical responsible for this is mateine, which is an xanthine alkaloid. You might have heard of other xanthines, such as caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. Interestingly, mateine appears to possess the best combination of xanthine properties. Like other xanthines, it mildly arouses the central nervous system, but does not appear to have any addicting side effects like other stimulants. Rather, it acts as a tonic in the central nervous system and actually helps create a calm and alert feeling.
When compared to the Asian green tea hype, Yerba Mat'e comes out on top. Research has found that Yerba Mat'e has a higher polyphenol content and stronger free-radical quenching power than typical green and black teas combined.