Green tea is a very popular drink due to the large amount of compounds that provide a number of health benefits.
It is prepared from the Camellia Sinensis plant , which can also give rise to other teas, such as black tea, red tea, white tea and oolong tea.
This tea has been used in human nutrition since ancient peoples, especially in the east. One of its best known benefits is that it aids in weight and body fat loss. But does it also help you gain muscle?
Does green tea promote mass gain?
According to nutritionist Fernanda de Sousa , green tea does not act directly in the construction of lean mass , what happens is that its antioxidant action helps to inhibit free radicals, which are generated after the practice of physical activities.
“Therefore, it can be said that the tea before training helps to maintain lean mass and increase endurance and lipid oxidation. After training, it helps so that tissue damage does not occur, resulting from oxidative stress, and so that the exercise is performed the next day with less pain”, he explains.
Does green tea lose weight?
Regarding the slimming effect of green tea, Fernanda explains how this happens: “the mixture of catechin with caffeine, present in green tea, increases thermogenesis and lipid oxidation, promoting energy expenditure . Catechins are able to reduce body weight, visceral and total fat”.
To further reinforce the efficiency of this tea, a survey carried out by the Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture ( Esalq ) at USP analyzed the effect of green tea in controlling obesity and as a food ally for weight loss.
The researcher responsible for the work compared the metabolic rate of overweight and obese grade I women, pre and post consumption of green tea, with or without the practice of physical exercise.
The results showed that women who consumed green tea in conjunction with physical exercise had their body composition modified, with greater fat loss, greater gain in muscle mass, greater increase in muscle strength and reduced levels of triglycerides.
The research also showed that the intake of tea also suppresses the use of carbohydrates , which generates an increase in the amount of glycogen in the muscle, helping to increase endurance and a greater physical disposition to continue the activity.
Therefore, as explained by nutritionist Fernanda de Sousa, the research confirmed that the consumption of green tea combined with the practice of physical exercise produces a much greater effect. This combination provides a change in body composition and helps in the use of fat as an energy source, thus contributing to an increase in lean mass.
How to consume green tea correctly?
To really get the beneficial effects of green tea, you need to know how to consume it. The ADA ( American Dietetic Association ) suggests a maximum consumption of 4 to 6 cups of green tea per day.
“The water must be heated up just before boiling, put in the leaves and let the infusion muffled for 2 to 3 minutes. It should not be stored for long periods as there is a loss of phenolic compounds. For each liter of water, use 4 tablespoons of fresh grass or 2 tablespoons of dry grass,” teaches Fernanda.
For those who are in doubt whether to drink green tea before or after physical activities, the professional emphasizes that they have all the benefits of tea, the ideal is to consume it in both ways, before and after training.
“However, it is important that it is not taken with meals so as not to reduce the absorption of nutrients from food. Ideally, it should be consumed an hour and a half after meals and should be avoided at night, or from 4 pm onwards, as caffeine can impair sleep ”, he advises.
Benefits of Green Tea
According to Fernanda, green tea is considered a functional food, because in addition to its nutritional qualities, it also contains substances that help reduce some chronic diseases , due to its active components.
In addition to the reduction in weight and body fat, several studies have also associated the consumption of green tea with benefits such as: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and blood glucose; improvement of physiological functions; antihypertensive effect; ultraviolet protection; increased bone mineral density; between others.
“Green tea is composed of a diverse class of flavonoids, including catechin, which varies according to the location and method of planting and the way in which the tea is prepared. Its properties are still being studied, but there are already articles about its antioxidant action, anti-inflammatory action, hypoglycemic action and anticarcinogenic potential”, points out the nutritionist.
Care and contraindications
Green tea can bring some harm to health if it is consumed inappropriately or in excess, and especially if it is used without a prescription or guidance from a health care professional.
Fernanda warns that it should not be consumed by pregnant women . “Caffeine crosses the placental barrier and can harm fetuses, as it decreases blood flow to the placenta. In addition, the use of medicinal herbs during pregnancy is not indicated, as they have a potential abortifacient effect”, she says.
The nutritionist also informs that high doses of green tea can cause adverse effects due to caffeine, such as palpitations, headache and dizziness.
Another problem is related to the absorption of proteins and minerals during digestion. “Teas in general contain a lot of tannin, an antinutrient that can reduce protein digestibility , in addition to interfering with iron absorption and inhibiting digestive enzymes. The polyphenols present in tea have a strong affinity for metals, being considered potent iron and copper chelators, inhibiting their absorption and use by the body, especially if they are ingested with tea during meals”, adds Fernanda.
Green tea doesn’t do a miracle
Another important recommendation from the specialist is not to use green tea as if it were a miracle, as no process of weight loss and muscle mass gain can be associated with just one food. Tea consumption should always be associated with good nutrition and physical activity.
“Tea is a nutritional strategy and not a medicine, but even so, it should not be taken without guidance. Therefore, look for a nutritionist to start your nutritional re-education and a physical educator to help you, in the correct way, to gain strength and muscle mass from your workouts”, he advises.
For those who want another tea option to help with weight loss, Fernanda recommends hibiscus tea. “Hibiscus tea is also a great thermogenic, it facilitates the digestive process and prevents fluid retention in the body”.
See also: How to Make Hibiscus Tea