Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The power of a small green leaf.

There are few times when a large amount of people come into agreement about something, and green tea is one of those exceptions.  Lately there has been a huge surge of interest into the effects of drinking green tea.  Everyone from doctors to television stars seem to be in agreement that green tea may just be a little miracle of nature.  Studies point to a host of benefits from green tea including : lower cholesterol, lower cancer rates, weight loss, a healthy heart, and even an immune system boost.  Green tea, because of the way it is processed, contains much higher levels of epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG than black or oolong teas.  This powerful antioxidant is the source of many of the claims of green tea's host of health benefits.  One cup of green tea contains between 30-60mg of caffeine compared to an average of 180mg in one cup of coffee, which makes it a great replacement for anyone interested in lowering their caffeine intake.  I personally drank 6 cups of green tea per day while in the process of making weight for the Miami Open, I feel that along with my other dietary modifications I was able to decrease calorie intake, yet still maintain strength and energy levels, and was also able to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass.

The traditional way to make a cup of green tea is to bring 8oz of water to a boil, then pour over a green tea bag and allow to steep for 5 minutes.  I prefer my tea cold over hot, so I pour room temperature water over a tea bag and leave it to steep for 30 minutes up to several hours.  After steeping once with room temperature water, I will brew a cup with the traditional method of steeping with the same tea bag.  Studies have shown that you still get a good amount of the antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols on the second and even the third brew of a tea bag so save the tea bag and make a second or third cup!

In a later post I will cover more of the role that green tea plays in my weight cutting process along with some my other "diet aids" that I utilize when shedding fat and ultimately before stepping on the scale at a weigh in.

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