Still sipping soft drinks? If you make one small change, it could improve your health and help you better fight the “battle of the bulge” – switch soft drinks for green tea. Unlike soft drinks, green tea is calorie-free and has additional health benefits you won’t get from drinking a carbonated beverage.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
Simply replacing the sugar-sweetened drinks you currently drink with calorie-free green tea sweetened with a natural, calorie-free sweetener like Stevia is a simple way to reduce the number of calories you consume without changing what you eat. It’s a good first step anyone can take to lose weight.
Consider this. A 16-ounce soft drink has 180 calories, and if you drink two of them a day, you’re giving up 360 calories a day by switching to green tea. That adds up to a pound of weight loss over 10 days – without changing anything else. That’s a pretty “sweet” deal, isn’t it?
The Benefits of Green Tea Don’t Stop There
When you sip a cup of green tea, either hot or iced, you’re giving your body extra protection against disease. While research is still preliminary at this point, natural antioxidants in green tea called polyphenols offer protection against certain types of cancer in animals including cancers of the digestive tract, lung cancer, cancer of the pancreas and breast cancer. Observationally, populations that drink large amounts of green tea have a lower incidence of some types of cancer.
Sipping this thirst-quenching beverage may give you protection against the most common cause of death in this country – heart disease. Research shows that drinking at least 3 cups of green day modestly lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, partially by reducing total cholesterol and raising levels of HDL, the “good” form of cholesterol that’s protective against heart disease.
Green Tea and Weight Control: More Good News
Not only is green tea calorie-free, it gives your metabolism a subtle boost so you burn a few more calories after you sip a cup. This metabolic boost isn’t enormous but every little bit counts. Most research suggests drinking 3 or more cups a day will cause you to burn an extra 70 to 80 calories. That adds up, and weight loss could be substantial if you give up soft drinks at the same time. As you can see, small changes can deliver big results.
How to Get the Benefits
Not all green tea is created equal. The green tea you buy in bottles at the grocery store actually contains very low levels of health-protective polyphenols, although one brand, Honest Tea, had respectable levels when tested. You’ll get the most benefits brewing your own tea at home. Loose-leaf tea is best, but green tea in tea bags you steep at home will still give you adequate concentrations of polyphenols. Most people find tea bags easier to use too.
We brew hot green tea every morning using loose-leaf tea and pour it into glass bottles. Then we refrigerate them to have iced green tea to sip throughout the day. It’s healthier and less expensive than buying bottled green tea.
Here’s a tip for maximizing the amount of polyphenols you absorb when you drink green tea. Squeeze a little lemon into your cup. Vitamin C helps your body absorb more of the polyphenols in green tea so you get greater health benefits. Another tip. Don’t add dairy milk. The casein in dairy milk binds to the polyphenols and blocks their absorption.
If you’re a soft drink junkie, start by replacing one of your daily soft drinks with green tea. Then slowly increase the amount of green tea relative to soft drinks that you drink until you’ve transitioned over to green tea. Sip a cup first thing in the morning in place of coffee. Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but it will still energize you and get your metabolism going. Bottle some up and take it with you to work too – to keep your metabolism primed. Enjoy the health benefits of this amazing beverage.
National Cancer Institute. “Tea and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limits of the Evidence”
University of Maryland Medical Center. “Green Tea”