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Help your health by drinking green tea

In many situations, you resent getting this more than the obviously regifted Christmas fruitcake from the relative who got a $100 gift card from you. This “gift” is advice.

If it’s not given in just the right way, you take it as being told what to do. And you, I, the mailman, and his three children can take offense at being told what to do.

It’s human nature.

When I begin a column, I keep that in mind. After all, by the end of most I usually offer some sort of advice.

Since I want you to seriously consider it- and follow it when your situation warrants it - I need to offer my advice in just the right way.

But try as I might, the offer-it-in-just-the-right-way approach just isn’t working this time. It’s creating the literary equivalent of regifting a Christmas fruitcake, so I hope you don’t take umbrage.

I’m simply going to tell you what to do.

Drink green tea.

Three cups a day will suffice, but four to six would be better.

Have a cup as you get ready to go to work or with breakfast. Stick with coffee during work breaks if you want, but have another cup instead of fizz water at lunch. Switch to decaf as the day wears on (or drink all decaf if you like) but have at least one more cup.

While I don’t like sounding so bossy, recent research tells me to be.

Consider that in 2009 an Examiner.com article offered at least “limited evidence” that drinking green tea was helpful in battling 16 very different health problems, including some of today’s biggest concerns: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. While Examiner.com is long gone, so is the use of the word limited in reference to the benefits of drinking green tea.

Especially when it comes to maintaining or losing weight and avoiding obesity.

Antioxidants mitigate much of the damage created by oxidative stress - damage that contributes to all those aforementioned health concerns, as well as accelerated aging. Green tea is a great source of a specific groups of antioxidants, catechins.

The catechin that appears to be a godsend if you’re attempting to maintain or lose weight has a godawful name, epigallocatechin gallate, so it’s called EGCG instead. ECGC counteracts an enzyme that keeps the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine from doing its job. A 2019 study, performed at The Ohio State University and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry clearly supports this.

Mice were fed a high-fat diet designed to produce weight gain, but half also received an extract of green tea that equates to you drinking 10 cups a day. While Richard Bruno, the study’s lead author and a professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, admitted that amount may seem excessive, he notes drinking 10 cups of green tea a day is “not highly unusual in certain parts of the world.”

And the equivalent green tea extract was highly effective.

The mice receiving it gained 20 percent less weight on the high-fat diet when compared to the mice fed the same diet that did not. Consuming the green tea extract was also linked to less inflammation within fat tissue and the intestine.

While obesity often causes fat tissue inflammation, fat tissue inflammation before (as well as during and after) weight gain reduces the secretion of leptin, the hormone that creates satiety. Besides diarrhea and abdominal pain, chronic inflammation in the intestine can lead to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In past studies with humans, the drinking of green tea has been linked to a slight increase in basal metabolic rate throughout the entire day. One such study published in the February 2007 issue of Obesity found that a beverage containing green tea extracts, caffeine, and calcium increased energy expenditure by 4.6 percent over the next 24 hours.

You can further increase green tea’s fat-burning effect, however, if you engage in moderately intense exercise.

A study performed at the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and published in the March 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that healthy males who took tablets of green tea extract before riding a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes at 60 percent of their maximal oxygen capacity burned 17 percent more calories than when they did the same ride after taking a placebo.

Moreover, insulin sensitivity increased by 13 percent. The more sensitive your body’s cells are to insulin, the more readily they accept blood glucose, thereby reducing the risk of high blood sugar.

High blood sugar, what doctors call hyperglycemia, increases the likelihood of many health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

In short, green tea is chicken soup for your body’s cells - except your cells don’t need to be sick to benefit. The catechins in green tea, particularly EGCG, boost your immune system and fight inflammation.