If reducing that abdominal paunch is part of your goals for the year, consider adding green tea to your diet. Several studies have hinted that green tea provides a boost to exercise-induced weight loss. Another study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Nutrition, supports that link and shows that tummy fat may be the first to go.
The study evaluated 132 obese adults. All consumed a diet that was consistent in daily calories and participated in 180 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. They also drank a daily beverage containing 39 milligrams of caffeine, but one group consumed green tea with 625 milligrams of catechins, an antioxidant that is the main component of green tea. After 12 weeks, the participants drinking the green tea had greater loss, 4.4 pounds compared with just over 2 pounds in the control group. The green-tea group also had larger declines in total abdominal fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat and triglycerides.
How green tea works its magic is not completely understood, but scientists believe it speeds the rate at which fat is broken down in the body. It may also help the body's sensitivity to insulin, lowering the risk of diabetes. The study was conducted by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University as well as research centers in Florida and Japan.
Another study on green tea, also featured in this issue of the Journal of Nutrition, shows that drinking plentiful amounts of the beverage over many years may have a subtle influence in decreasing the risk of breast cancer. The study examined almost 7,000 women, ages 20 to 74, in China. The women were evaluated for breast cancer incidence and consumption of green tea. Compared with nondrinkers, women who drank green tea had a slightly decreased risk of breast cancer. The benefit was strongest for women who drank the most green tea over longer periods of time.
-- Shari Roan
Photo credit: Eric Boyd / Los Angeles Times