Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular dieting method right now. Compared to other fad diets, IF does have much research to back up its amazing effects on the body. Civilizations have been fasting for millennia, and this natural eating pattern is becoming more common.
Another diet pattern people have been doing historically is drinking tea, particularly Japanese green tea. High-quality green tea has been intertwined with Japanese culture for centuries. Adding Japanese Green tea to your diet can further boost the benefits of IF, while satiating any cravings for your usual beverages.
Fasting has existed for millions of years and in many cultural and religious traditions. Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity recently. Everyone from fitness gurus to medical doctors are recommending it for health, weight loss, and even to treat certain chronic conditions.
The basic principle of intermittent fasting involves limiting the time spent eating in a day. It’s less of a diet and more of a lifestyle pattern because there are no specifications on what food to eat or limit. Just by fasting anywhere from 12-18 hours a day (sometimes more!) one’s health, body, and life will drastically change.
The science behind intermittent fasting has to do with hormones. When any food, especially carbohydrates enter the body, the hormone insulin spikes. Insulin is the blood that allows fat to be stored. Because people today have irregular and frequent eating patterns, like snacking all day and even night, the body never gets a break from releasing insulin and storing fat. This can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and so on. By fasting for a certain amount of the day, the body gets more chances to burn fat than continue storing it.
Something that's challenging about intermittent fasting is the inability to drink beverages like a creamy coffee or sugary soda while fasting. No calories should be consumed outside of the eating window. A fantastically healthy choice is Japanese green tea, a naturally sweet, delicately flavored tea that can simultaneously sate your cravings and further improve your health.
When intermittent fasting, drinks with any calories are not allowed outside of eating windows. Many people may feel unable to let go of their sodas, calorific coffees, or sugary juices Japanese green tea is an excellent, delicious substitute for these drinks while boosting the health effects of fasting.
Before Japanese green tea became a cultural, daily drink, its main purpose was medicinal. During the 12th century, the Buddhist influence in Japan promoted green tea for health and
longevity, despite its bitter taste. Fortunately, the discovery of shading and grinding tea leaves to make matcha powder allowed the beverage to be beneficial while tasting wonderful. Even modern research shows a huge difference in the health between populations who drink green tea, like Japan, compared to those who don’t.
Intermittent fasting is already quite powerful in improving longevity, weight maintenance, and reducing the risk of diseases. Paired with Japanese green tea’s fat-burning qualities, skin-boosting antioxidants, and other positive features, the two make a powerful combo.
While intermittent fasting is not a diet protocol, eating nutrient-packed foods definitely increases the positive effects. Japanese green tea is one such addition that can further help in managing weight and decreasing dangerous health risks. With its high caffeine content and catechins, the body's energy expenditure increases - you burn more calories and energy than you normally would. Research shows that you could burn up to 4% more calories a day, which adds up over a long period of time (in a month, you can cut up to 120% total calories!)
Japanese green tea also helps with reducing appetite, which is a struggle many people have on intermittent fasting. By balancing hormones like leptin and ghrelin, intermittent fasting can eventually manage hunger and satiety. However, fasting may prove difficult at first. The catechins in Japanese green tea provide hunger suppression, helping you succeed in fasting. (See my other article “Is Green Tea a Good Appetite Suppressant?” for more information about this.)
A specific green tea called Japanese Diet Pu-erh tea (also known as Saryu Soso) is perfect for speeding up metabolism and improving digestion. With its high-quality fermentation process, Japanese Diet Pu-erh tea ends up with 1.7 times more of a polyphenol called tannic acid than normal tea.
With intermittent fasting, blood sugar remains balanced because the body isn’t bombarded with sugar regularly. This reduces inflammation, which can manifest as acne and other skin conditions. The addition of Japanese green tea takes this one step further with its role in managing blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of green tea has been shown to improve glucose levels in people with diabetes. Drinking up to six cups of green tea a day slashes the risk of diabetes by a third. Japanese green tea provides more benefits because it has a concentrated amount of the nutrients in normal green tea.
Japanese green tea is famous for its antioxidants. From ECGC to other catechins it contains, these free-radical-fighting antioxidants do wonders for anti-aging and skin. Toxins from a poor diet, lack of sun protection, and environmental factors can negatively affect the skin, causing fine lines and discoloration. The high levels of polyphenols and catechins in Japanese green tea – which is higher than other antioxidant superfoods like coffee, dark chocolate, or berries – protect the external layer from deterioration. (See my other article "Japanese Green Tea and Skin Health" for more information about this)
The eating window may vary from person to person, so if you are someone who eats earlier in the day and fasts later at night, you might feel apprehensive about drinking a caffeinated beverage.
Japanese green tea does have caffeine, anywhere from 30-60 milligrams per cup. But the caffeine works differently from the coffee and energy drinks. Green tea’s intensive amount of antioxidants slows down the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream. What this means is that caffeine will gradually be released in the body over a longer period of time. It provides sustained energy throughout the day, as opposed to a burst of adrenaline followed by a crash.
While it would be best to drink Japanese green tea earlier in the day, there is the option of Hojicha tea. Hojicha tea is made from roasted tea twigs, resulting in a bolder, smooth flavor. With a naturally lower caffeine content of about 7.7 milligrams, Hojicha tea is perfect for an evening treat or pick-me-up that won’t impede on your regularly scheduled sleep.
What To Do
Japanese green tea is a healthy, beneficial complement to intermittent fasting. To really extract the greatest potential from green tea, it's important to know when and how to drink it.
First of all, due to its low amount of calories, about 3 calories per gram of Japanese matcha powder, it is perfectly acceptable to consume while fasting.
Instead of matcha, you can also use sencha, pu-erh tea or hojicha. (Don't know the difference between these tea? Click here to check out this blog where I explain the difference.) All these tea are good as long as you do not use additives like milk and sugar (see more below). Japanese tea are traditionally consumed without adding milk or sugar, so it is also another reason why Japanese tea are good for IF.
That means, just like black coffee and water, you can sip a warm, comforting mug of Japanese green tea around the clock. As already established, Japanese green tea's steady energy boost makes it a smart choice for taming appetite. Furthermore, it's a different form of hydration - which you need to prioritize while fasting - especially if water becomes boring.
The best time to drink Japanese green tea is really whenever. Traditionally, Japanese people would drink matcha or sencha throughout the day, for practically every meal. To start, drinking Japanese green tea first thing in the morning can become a wonderful habit. As a substitute for coffee, Japanese green tea provides a calming, yet refreshing spring in your step. Since it doesn't come with all the energy crashes like other energy drinks, Japanese green tea is great to drink multiple times a day, while fasting or eating.
As for how much to drink, it really depends on personal preferences. For the best health benefits, at least 3 cups of tea a day is the recommendation.
What Not To Do
When done correctly, Japanese green tea can maximize the health advantages of intermittent fasting. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Green tea is a good choice because it's calorie-free. As tempting as indulgent, delicious green tea beverages might be, be aware of the nutrient content. For example, matcha green tea with some milk, cream, or sugar can break your fast. When buying tea from a restaurant or a coffee shop, refrain from ordering matcha green tea lattes. One of the amazing things about Japanese green tea is its metabolism-revving quality. By adding calories, you miss out on this benefit, as the calories can add up quickly. Leave such drinks for after breaking the fast.
While its safe to drink Japanese green tea throughout the day, keep in mind that caffeine can still affect you when consumed close to the evening. Also, it's best not to go overboard. Although it seems like Japanese green tea has much less caffeine than coffee, drinking too much too fast can have a strong effect. Having too much tea on an empty stomach can cause nausea for more sensitive people.
Drinking Japanese green tea during the eating window is perfectly fine. However, to receive the most health benefits, drink a cup between meals, rather than with meals. Firstly, after fasting for a while, it's important to get as many nutrients as possible. Eating while sipping a hot beverage may reduce your appetite, making you fuller faster. Even more, green tea can prevent some iron absorption if eaten with food.
Intermittent fasting is no easy feat when first starting out. However, don't feel like you're missing out by cutting out your usual beverages. Japanese green tea is worth trying for its help in losing fat, improving skin health, and convenience (you can drink it anytime!). With all these benefits and no calories, added sugar or fat, Japanese green tea is a smart addition to boost the natural benefits of intermittent fasting.
Here are two Japanese green tea mentioned in the above articles you can buy online.
If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.
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In the movie, Karate Kid Part II with actor Ralph Macchio playing the now iconic character of Daniel LaRusso. In the movie, the tea ceremony served as a means for Daniel and Kumiko to offer and accept each other's feelings.
Learn about the roots of the Japanese traditional tea ceremony as well as the health benefits of consuming green tea.