This week on Spartan Health: The honored green tea plant, consumed by Asian cultures for centuries, packs a powerful punch when it comes to naturally pumping up your brain and body. Green tea is loaded with healthy nutrients, from amino acids and antioxidants to enzymes. These compounds promote brain health, metabolism, immunity, and energy. It’s an easy addition to your daily routine and gives an all natural mind/body boost to get you off the couch and up your next Spartan Rope Climb and over the Seven Foot Wall!
What the Green Tea Plant Can Do For You
What’s so great about this ancient brew? A lot! It’s not just for your afternoon tea and crumpets. The wonderful green tea plant is chock full of healthy nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids to help you pre- and post workout.
- Green tea contains some caffeine about 40 mg per cup so it can give you nice boost without overloading you on caffeine and giving you the jitters.
- Why else don’t you get the jitters with green tea? L- theanine. I know, I know, what on earth is that, right? L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in only a few sources. One, is tea. L-theanine acts synergistically with caffeine and gives you the natural boost you get from caffeine but without the jitters.
- Next up – antioxidants and green tea is full of them. In particular, a group called catechins that help fight free-radicals. This can support your immune system and certainly help during cold and flu season.
- Another important feature of green tea is the anti-inflammatory effect. This can help you post workout with muscle recovery and decrease stress on the body which can promote healing.
- So many superpowers are hidden in this wonderful tea plant. In fact, green tea can help inhibit cavity forming bacteria in the mouth. So, as an added benefit it can keep your breath fresh during those long workouts.
Also remember hot or iced you can reap these health benefits and it will help you stay hydrated.
KEY TERMS & IDEAS:
- Green Tea (the green tea plant is camellia sinensis) can provide a healthy mind/body boost and has about 40 mg of caffeine per cup.
- Another special compound found in few foods other than green tea is the amino acid, L-theanine. It couples with the caffeine and gives you a natural energy lift but not the jitters you get with straight caffeine.
- Powerful antioxidant support: green tea is chock full of these and they help neutralize free-radicals which can form during basic metabolism. We all produce free-radicals during exercise and workouts. It’s important to help the body get rid of them.
- Anti-inflammatory: green tea can help reduce inflammation which is an important mechanism for muscle repair and recovery
- As an added benefit: green tea inhibits oral bacteria that can cause cavities and bad breath. Keeps your mouth fresh during workouts.
LINKS & RESOURCES:
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"L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans," Lekh Raj Juneja et al.,Trends in Food Science & Technology 10.6-7 (1999): 199-20
"Green tea extract improves running endurance in mice by stimulating lipid utilization during exercise," Takatoshi Murase, et al., American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 290.6 (2006): R1550-R1556.
"Green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss in overweight and obese adults," Kevin C. Maki, et al., The Journal of nutrition 139.2 (2008): 264-270.
Free radicals are “toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues in a process called ‘oxidative stress.’ " See William B. Salt II, “How do free radicals affect the body,” in Sharecare.
Producer: Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
Writer and Host: Nada Milosavljevic MD, JD
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