Green tea is one of the healthiest teas to help increase all types of health benefits. Green tea also helps with weight loss and increase of fat burning. But in the past few years, many research has shown that green tea also helps increase athletes’ performance levels and stamina.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea contains many antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and an important amino acid l-theanine. The main antioxidants found in green tea are polyphenols, organic chemicals found in plants. One of the most abundant polyphenol is epigallocathechin gallate (EGCG). Matcha green tea contains the highest levels of polyphenols. EGCG promotes the growth of bone cells up to 79%, which strengthen bones and increases mineralization, which is very important for long-distance runners.
L-theanine helps to increase the activity of the anti-anxiety neurotransmitter GABA, which also helps to level the “pleasure” neurotransmitter called dopamine. Green tea reduces free radical damage that results in oxidative stress which affects many health conditions.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
- Helps with weight loss and increases fat burning.
- Polyphenols have great anti-inflammatory properties.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Helps prevent Parkinson’s disease- L-theanine which levels the neurotransmitter dopamine.
- Helps avoid sleep apneas- The polyphenols protect the brain during periods of lack of oxygen.
- EGCG (polyphenols) help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides.
- Reduces the risk of lung cancer due to its high levels of a potent antioxidant catechins.
- Improves mental alterness.
Benefits of Green Tea for Endurance Runners
- Helps with fat oxidation and metabolic efficiency, which saves the carbohydrates stores.
- Helps increase weight loss and fat burning metabolism, which reduces body fat %.
- Increases endurance and performance levels.
- Helps preserve glycogen stores by helping burning fat as fuel.
For long-distance runners, drinking green tea regularly (1-2 cups/day), will increase the efficient use of fat as fuel so the body doesn’t rely on as much carbohydrates. Glycogen stores are conserved for longer time which helps to maintain stamina during long-distance running. Drinking decaffeinated green tea will have the same health benefits as regular green tea, except for the higher mental alertness. For people who don’t enjoy the taste of green tea, another option is to take green tea extract supplements, which will have similar benefits. To decrease the coffee intake and increase the green tea intake one week before a race will have even more impact on the race performance.