Monday, June 6, 2011

Weight Loss

Every little bit of help is useful when you’re trying to lose weight or keep your weight stable as you get older. Diet and exercise are still the most important components of weight loss and maintenance, but studies are showing that tea, particularly green tea, may be able to provide some assistance in losing weight and keeping it off.

For centuries, Asians have used green tea for health. In addition to Asian cultures having a much lower incidence of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease, they also are far less likely to be overweight.

Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. While there are several different types of tea, all true tea comes from this plant.  The differences occur from how the tea is processed. Green tea is not fermented during processing, but black tea, which is the most common outside Asia does go through a fermentation process.

Tea leaves naturally contain catechins, which belong to the flavan-3-ol class of flavonoids, which are anti-oxidants.  EGCG is one of the catechins contained in tea, and is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants around.

Each day, as we convert food to energy, we create free radicals in our body. These free radicals can damage our cells and our DNA if we don’t combat them. It is believed that unchecked free radicals contribute to the development of many diseases, including cancer. In addition, they speed up the aging process and contribute to clogged arteries and other health problems.

Anti-oxidants are powerful at combating free radicals and are linked with preventing cancer, as well as with decreasing your risk of stroke and heart disease. and with lowering your cholesterol.

For this reason, drinking green tea is a simple and effective way to slow down the aging process and prevent disease. But, in addition to being a way to protect your health, drinking tea seems to also be a way to help keep you slim.

There has been a fairly significant amount of research on tea and its ability to help control your waistline. Tea seems to work on two levels. The first is that it appears to speed up the metabolism, so you use more calories each day. However, it also seems to inhibit fat absorption, so that less of the fat in your diet becomes fat on your body.

Tea has two ingredients that seem to help it work its magic. The first is caffeine, which is known to help speed up the metabolism. However, tea seems to work better than other caffeinated beverages because of those powerful anti-oxidants we were talking about earlier.

The anti-oxidants, also known as catechins, are the key to helping inhibit the absorption of fat and keep the metabolism moving for hours.

One research study that evaluated the benefits of tea on weight loss was conducted by the Osaka University of Foreign Studies. This study was conducted on just under 200 healthy men and women between the ages of 20 and 65. The subjects were divided into three groups; the control group, low dose group and high dose group.

The study lasted for 12 weeks. During the study period, the control group was fed 3 bottles of placebo drink. The low dose group consumed 2 bottles of a drink containing tea catechins and one bottle of placebo drink and the high dose group consumed 3 bottles of the tea catechin drink.

At the end of the twelve week study, those subjects in the low dose and high dose group showed a significant decrease in body fat compared with the control group. Both body weight and BMI were reduced in these two groups. In addition, abdominal fat was significantly reduced.

This reduction in body fat around the abdominal area is significant. Fat around the midsection is the fat that is most dangerous to our health. Abdominal fat is the type that is most likely to be an indicator of heart disease. Reducing your waist size, and the fat around your midsection is the most important weight to lose in order to protect your health.

Another interesting result of this study was that the subjects who had slightly elevated cholesterol levels also experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the “bad cholesterol”.

When too much of this type of cholesterol circulates in the blood, it oxidizes into plaque that clogs the arteries. This causes the arteries to narrow, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.

When you combine this information with other studies that have shown a positive relationship between the amount of tea consumed in a day and the amount of overall body fat, it certainly suggests that drinking tea can be an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.

We all know that it’s critical to eat well and get regular exercise in order to maintain our health and keep our weight in check. However, understanding how simple things like drinking tea can provide assistance can make this challenge a little easier and faster.

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