Green tea is one of the most popular health beverages—and for good reason. Its history of herbal and medicinal use dates back thousands of years ago to ancient China. “It was used by Chinese practitioners to reduce heat in the body, thus restoring balance, but additional benefits included increased alertness, a digestive aid, reduced severity or occurrences of headaches, and also improvements in circulation,” says Roger Adams, Ph.D., personal trainer, doctor of nutrition and owner of eatrightfitness.
Nowadays green tea is still hailed as an all-natural health booster, thanks to its rich nutrient content, including antioxidants and polyphenols that help reduce inflammation, fight cancerous cells, and protect healthy cells from free radicals in the body.
And if those weren’t enough reasons to brew up your own cup of green tea right now, Tara Allen, personal trainer and nutritionist, notes that there are brain and mental health benefits to sipping green tea as well. “The moderate amount of caffeine (less than a cup of coffee) and amino acid L-theanine found in green tea has been proven to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and give your memory a boost,” she adds.
If you aren’t already convinced that green tea should play a key role in your diet, read up on these impressive ways green tea can help you reach your fitness goals.
It helps you stay hydrated
One of the simplest ways consuming green tea can help you with your fitness goals is that it can help you stay hydrated. “The water in the tea is readily absorbed into your body—contrary to what many may believe about caffeine being a diuretic, the caffeine in green tea is not strong enough to act in this manner,” says Dr. Adams.
It can reduce belly fat
On the list of fat-busting foods, green tea reigns supreme thanks to its anti-angiogenic effect. “Green tea can boost the metabolic rate at which your body works to decrease body fat, especially in the abdominal area,” says Miriam Amselem, holistic nutritionist, fitness trainer, and yoga instructor. “Since it increases the metabolic rate, you can burn fat faster throughout the day.” She recommends drinking a cup of green tea just before you work out on Aaptiv to help boost this effect.
It gives you an energy boost
Unlike a cup of coffee, the moderate amount of caffeine contained in a cup of green tea won’t leave you jittery. It might, however, help boost your endurance during your workouts, according to Allen. To reap this fitness perk, she recommends drinking your green tea about 30 minutes before you begin to exercise.
It improves your workout performance
Because green tea has the ability to increase your blood flow, which then results in improved oxygenation to your bodily organs, it is linked to improved physical performance, shares Amselem. For continued improvement in your performance while you work out, she suggests drinking chilled green tea instead of water, which still gives you the necessary hydration.
It boosts your longevity
“Green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of many chronic diseases (such as cancer and diabetes).” says Dr. Adams, adding that, without the worry of any illnesses, you may have more time to focus on your fitness goals. He recommends working more green tea into your day by brewing a large amount, adding a squeeze of lemon or some fresh mint, and storing it in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go unsweetened iced tea.
It lowers your stress levels
Working out in itself can help lower your stress levels, which is so important to your overall health. Well, green tea can do the same! Green tea consumption has also been linked to lower stress levels. “When we have less stress effects on our body, our immune systems run better, which helps you get the most out of your workouts and gets you in the gym more often or hitting the road for more miles,” says Dr. Adams.