Science Researches Tea and Health Claims

Numerous studies have shown that green tea is beneficial to human health owing to its high polyphenol content. Known to help prevent cell damage, help keep some cancers at bay, and boost heart health (to name just a few benefits), this beverage can also help athletes achieve better results. As found in research published by the American Physiology Society, green tea boosts exercise endurance by 8% to 24%, stimulating the use of fat as an energy source.

Two athletes warming up to exercise

How Much Tea Do Athletes Need to Drink?

The above study was carried out in a lab setting, though its lead author, Takatoshi Murase, states that its findings can easily be extrapolated to the needs of a major Olympic athlete. If the latter weighed around 75kg, for instance, they would need to drink around four cups of green tea daily to reap the rewards found in the lab study. Consistency is also key, since taking just one high dosage of green tea does not affect performance. Rather, it is the long-term consumption of this beverage that provides optimal results.

What Components Make Green Tea so Powerful?

The researchers state that green tea, like cacao, is rich in a class of polyphenols called catechins, which have various physiological benefits. Catechins, for instance, can help counteract the obesity-inducing effects of a fatty diet. One of their most powerful benefits is their ability to activate thermogenesis (the production of heat) and fat oxidation (the process of breaking down fatty acids). By improving fat metabolism, green tea helps athletes generate more energy. It also enables them to process glucose more efficiently and helps muscles generate power.

Superfoods a Boost to a Healthy Diet for Athletes

Green tea is just one of many foods that can boost athletic performance, even for those practicing low-impact sports. Healthy eating optimizes performance in golf, for instance, as well as in other sports that incorporate endurance, strength, explosive power, mental focus, and gross motor coordination. 

Cup of spring detox green tea with a kyusu behind it

In the same way that top golfers and swimmers boost their staying power in the gym, they also prioritize nutrition; making sure to get a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Healthy snacks and superfoods can also play an important role in ensuring that athletes give their all on the greens, on the track, or indeed in any setting in which stamina and power are called for. In addition to green tea, athletes can also benefit from consuming foods like oatmeal (which has a relatively low glycemic index), chia seeds (which are rich in antioxidants and Omega-3 essential fatty acids), and whey protein isolate (a complex form of protein that contains all essential amino acids).

Green Tea Aids in Recovery

Green tea can benefit athletes beyond their respective competitions. It can also help prevent cell damage from inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines (small proteins secreted by the immune system). One study on athletes undertaken over a four-week period showed that green tea extract reduced oxidative damage in high-intensity and long-term muscular endurance tests alike. Oxidative damage occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells. They are produced when we use oxygen to generate energy. They can also be produced by harmful substances such as smoke and pollution.

Green tea can help athletes perform at their best. It has been found to help boost endurance and fat metabolism and fight inflammation. As such, it can be a useful superfood for athletes wishing to give their all and recover from the effort expended during competition.