Tea and Chocolate for Athletes

GREEN TEA

Many of us like a cuppa through the day. Apart from knowing that you should try to limit your sugar consumption, and, arguably, use skimmed-milk in your tea, many of us give no more thought as to whether the tea we drink has any consequences for our health. Read on my friends and be enlightened ……

Green Tea comes in many guises, mainly from the East. Chinese and Japanese green teas have similar benefits. Green tea is just black tea without the fermentation process. Black tea (what most Brit’s normally consume) contains many benefits too just not as many as green tea, plus milk blocks the flavanoids (active health promoting components in green tea). You’ll see later the same milk in milk chocolate blocks similar active polyphenols from working properly in the body.

Green tea contains antioxidants, polyphenols (active plant components) catechins and EGCG these are the bits which give Green teas it’s unique properties. Many of the health benefits and claims of green tea are the subject of ‘hype’ but it does seem to have a proven track record for helping almost all causes of mortality in some bigger well constructed studies, so maybe we should believe the ‘hype’

GREEN TEA FOR THE ATHLETE

Next to fish oils green tea is a wonder food, drink it regularly, drink it lots – get a version you enjoy the taste of. The best product is Matcha ceremonial green tea used in the orient for 1000’s of years to improve mediation and meetings between people, but any type of green tea will contain some of the beneficial effects.

One of the reasons for it’s traditional use in ceremonies is its effect on brain neurotransmitters, specifically it has a calming and focusing action due to raising dopamine and GABA at the same time. Dopamine is responsible for motivation and drive, whilst GABA regulates brain rhythm. The effect is you feel calmer and more focused at the same time. Only a few natural substances can do this and generally these assist with reaction time when nerves are an issue. Green tea also affects alpha waves; these are highest when the brain is relaxed and alert.

  • Green Tea; calms the brain
  • Increases both GABA and Dopamine
  • Excellent for decision making when under fire
  • Increases alpha waves
  • Protects against most diseases
  • Burns fat

Alpha brain waves are seen in wakefulness where there is a relaxed and effortless alertness, for more info check out http://www.biocybernaut.com/about/brainwaves/alpha.htm

So if you like being stressed, fat and prone to disease don’t drink green tea!

SCIENCE IN RELATION TO FAT LOSS

Increased adipose (fat) mass is a consequence of either increased adipocyte (fat cell) size (hypertrophy) or increased adipocyte number (hyperplasia) or both. Adipose tissue hyperplasia (increasing in number) is a result of increased adipogenesis, which includes preadipocyte proliferation and adipocyte differentiation. Thus, therapeutic agents that have the ability to reduce or inhibit adipogenesis or increase cell death by apoptosis could have a profound impact on body composition.

Green tea extracts, specifically those containing a high proportion of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation (Dulloo et al., 1999) and increase weight loss in humans (Chantre and Lairon, 2002). In addition, EGCG treatment has been shown to decrease fat deposition in rats (Kao, Hiipakka and Liao, 2000). Although increased thermogenesis and inhibition of lipase activity have been suggested to be responsible for EGCG induced weight loss, EGCG has been shown to have antiproliferative effects (inhibits maturation and increases apoptosis, i.e. cell death) that may also impact adipose tissue.

In addition to its antiproliferative effect, EGCG may also have an inhibitory effect on differentiation. More specifically, it may act to inhibit the extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) pathway in adipocytes, resulting in inhibition of lipogenesis. Empirical evidence suggests that 500mg of EGCG taken in the form of a decaffeinated green tea extract supplement twice daily (500mg at breakfast and lunch) is optimal for the fat utilization and storage effects highlighted above.

However some scientist believe the fat burning effects are better in caffeinated forms of green tea, the problem with these is you cant take them late at night.

Furthermore, EGCG can be considered to be a general wellbeing nutrient. It has been reported to have antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties (Kondo et al., 1999; Cai et al., 2002) and anticarcinogenic or cancer preventing actions (Chung et al., 2003; Hu, Han and Chen, 1995).

Basically it kills fat cells, up regulates fat burning and prevents cancer – so drink it!

TEA IS ALWAYS GOOD WITH A CHOCOLATE BISCUIT

Chocolate Has Health Benefits (just chocolate biscuits are high in bad fats and sugars)

Chocolate is the name given to product derived from cocoa trees, cocoa nibs are the raw form of chocolate before it gets processed and sugar added. These nibs contain unique plant polyphenols, and yes you guessed it these are good for you!

Recent studies have shown that eating chocolate can be beneficial to your health. Chocolate contains a substance called catechins, the same stuff that occurs in Green tea, that could help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure. But if you eat milk chocolate you can block some of the active components and negate the benefits.

Catechins are strong antioxidants which clear away destructive molecules in the body called free radicals. Free radicals damage cells which help trigger heart disease and cancer. A large amount of antioxidants in your diet can help reduce your risk for developing heart disease and cancer.

Cocoa powder and chocolate are good sources of antioxidants. See the list of Top Antioxidant Foods below. Dark chocolate contains significantly higher amounts than most other foods. You can also find catechins in large doses in green tea.

In addition, researchers have discovered that physical and emotional enjoyment from eating chocolate, even in small doses, can enhance immune function for hours afterwards. They believe that life’s small pleasures may have a cumulative effect in boosting the immune system over a long period.

This seems to prove that a little bit of what you fancy really does do you good, just don’t have too much of it that’s all!

The good news is that moderate chocolate consumption offers health benefits. The bad news is that you can’t eat whatever you want because too much chocolate can lead to weight gain.

So once you start eating the chocolate make sure you eat a little less of something else. When you restrict foods choose sugars and poor fat calories first.

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