A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research reported that the polyphenols in green tea can help reduce high blood pressure and increase insulin function in people who are overweight.
In the past a lot of the research around green tea focused on Alzheimers disease, cancer and hight cholesterol. Green tea was shown to be beneficial for all these conditions.
This new study found significant reductions in both systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure.
Another benefit was improved insulin sensitivity – a marker of how the body handles carbohydrate breakdown in the body. In people with insulin resistance or poorly functioning insulin production, it is far more difficult to break down fat and lose weight, therefore a normal level of insulin in the body is important during weight loss.
How much to drink?
Researchers found benefits with an intake of 208mg of EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), one of the four main polyphenols in green tea. That translates to about one and a half cups of high quality green tea such as Japanese Sencha (each cup has about 150 mg EGCG) or about seven cups of a lesser quality green tea like Liptons or Twinings (each cup of those kind has about 30 mg EGCG).
To maximize EGCG content, pour boiling water (not just hot water) over a green tea bag and let steep for 10 minutes before removing the bag and drinking. The only trade off with increased brewing time is a slight increase in bitterness. If you want to counteract this, try adding a little lemon juice or sliced lemon.
Either way – a smaller amount of a high quality green tea or more of the everyday kind – you will still get the benefits.
Time to put the kettle on!