6 Surprising Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea (Complete Guide)

Green tea has been a popular beverage for centuries due to its many health benefits.

Not only is green tea rich in antioxidants, but it also contains caffeine and other nutrients that can provide numerous physical and mental health benefits.

Things To Know About Green Tea

From drinking green tea regularly to understanding the potential risks associated with consuming too much of it, there are several important things you should know about green tea before adding it into your daily routine.

Here are some key aspects of green tea consumption that everyone should be aware of.

 

WHAT IS GREEN TEA?

Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which have been dried and processed to create a beverage with a unique flavor.

It can be enjoyed hot or cold and comes in various forms such as loose-leaf, bags, capsules, or powder.

Green tea extract is also available for those interested in obtaining concentrated amounts of its active compounds.

Green Tea Loose Leaf

The main difference between green tea and other types of teas lies in the way it’s processed: green tea leaves are not fermented like black and oolong teas but rather steamed directly after harvest.

This helps preserve their beneficial polyphenols that give green tea its many health benefits.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA

Green tea is known for its potential health benefits, which are attributed to the high concentration of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds found in the leaves.

Green Tea Health Benefits

Here are some of the most commonly cited health benefits of drinking green tea:

1. IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION

Green tea leaves contain caffeine and L-theanine, two compounds that may work together to improve brain function, including memory, reaction time, and mood.

2. INCREASES FAT BURNING

Some studies have shown that drinking green tea can boost metabolism and increase fat burning, potentially leading to weight loss over time.

3. REDUCES RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES

Regular green tea consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

4. LOWERS CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

The antioxidants in green tea leaves may help reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood while increasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

5. IMPROVES DENTAL HEALTH

Green tea contains antibacterial compounds that can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

It’s worth noting that while many studies have suggested these potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand how green tea consumption affects human health.

Additionally, it’s important to consume green tea in moderation as too much green tea intake can lead to negative side effects such as insomnia or upset stomach.

CAFFEINE CONTENT IN GREEN TEA

Green Tea Caffeine

Green tea contains caffeine, but the amount can vary depending on several factors.

On average, an 8-ounce cup of green tea contains about 25-45 milligrams of caffeine, which is significantly less than a typical cup of coffee (which can contain 95 milligrams or more).

However, there are several factors that can affect the caffeine content in green tea:

1. TYPE OF GREEN TEA

Different types of green tea have varying amounts of caffeine. For example, Japanese green teas tend to have higher levels of caffeine than Chinese green teas.

2. BREWING TIME & TEMPERATURE

The longer you steep your green tea and the hotter the water temperature, the more caffeine will be extracted from the leaves.

3. SERVING SIZE

Larger servings will naturally contain more caffeine than smaller ones.

Overall, if you’re looking for a low-caffeine alternative to coffee or black tea, green tea can be a good option.

However, if you’re sensitive to caffeine or trying to avoid it altogether, it’s worth being mindful of your green tea consumption and how you brew it.

HOW TO BREW GREEN TEA

Green Tea Brewing

Brewing green tea is relatively simple, but there are a few key steps to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best flavor and health benefits:

1. CHOOSE HIGH-QUALITY GREEN TEA

Look for loose-leaf green tea or high-quality tea bags from a reputable supplier. Avoid low-quality teas, which can be stale or contain lower levels of beneficial compounds.

2. RIGHT TEMPERATURE

Green tea should be brewed with water that’s around 175°F (80°C). If the water is too hot, it can scorch the delicate leaves and result in a bitter taste.

3. RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME

For most green teas, steeping for 2-3 minutes is ideal. Longer steep times can lead to bitterness, while shorter times may not extract enough flavor.

4. DON’T OVER-BREW

Once your green tea has finished steeping, remove the leaves or tea bag promptly to avoid over-brewing.

5. TEST DIFFERENT BREWING TECHNIQUES

Some people prefer to use a gaiwan (a traditional Chinese teapot) or a special brewing vessel designed specifically for green tea.

You can also experiment with different amounts of tea leaves, water temperature, and steep times to find your preferred brewing method.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to brew a delicious cup of green tea that’s packed with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

POPULAR VARIETIES OF GREEN TEA

Green tea is a popular beverage that comes in many different varieties, each with its own unique flavor and aroma.

Here are some of the most popular types of green tea:

1. SENCHA

Sencha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that’s made from the first flush of leaves in early spring.

It’s known for its delicate flavor and aroma, as well as its numerous health benefits.

Sencha tea is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

It also contains caffeine, which can provide a natural energy boost and improve mental alertness.

HOW TO BREW:

Sencha tea is typically brewed with water that’s around 70-80°C (158-176°F) for 1-2 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

Overall, sencha tea is a delicious and healthy beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold throughout the day.

 

Sencha - Green Tea

2. DRAGONWELL (LONGJING)

Dragonwell tea, also known as Longjing tea, is a type of Chinese green tea that’s grown in the Hangzhou region of Zhejiang province.

It’s one of the most famous and sought-after varieties of green tea in China due to its unique flavor and aroma.

Dragonwell tea has a subtle, nutty taste with a sweet aftertaste and a pleasant fragrance.

It’s rich in antioxidants and contains caffeine, which can provide an energy boost and improve mental alertness.

HOW TO BREW:

 

To brew Dragonwell tea, it’s recommended to use water that’s around 80°C (176°F) for 1-2 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

The leaves can be steeped multiple times for additional cups of tea.

 

Green Tea Dragonwell

3. MATCHA

Matcha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that’s made from shade-grown tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder.

It has a vibrant green color and a unique flavor that’s both sweet and slightly bitter.

Matcha green tea is known for its high concentration of antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

It also contains caffeine, which can provide an energy boost and improve mental alertness.

Matcha green tea is typically prepared by whisking the powder with hot water until it becomes frothy, resulting in a smooth and creamy texture.

It can be enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in various recipes, such as matcha lattes or smoothies.

 

Green Tea - Matcha

4. GYOKURO

Gyokuro tea is a type of Japanese green tea that’s grown in the shade for several weeks before harvesting.

This process results in a tea with a unique flavor and aroma that’s different from other types of green tea.

Gyokuro has a sweet and mellow taste with a subtle grassy flavor and a delicate fragrance.

It’s known for its high concentration of amino acids, which give it its characteristic umami taste.

Gyokuro is also rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

 

HOW TO BREW:

To brew gyokuro tea, it’s recommended to use water that’s around 50-60°C (122-140°F) for 2-3 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

The leaves can be steeped multiple times for additional cups of tea.

 

Green Tea - Gyokuro

5. GUNPOWDER

Gunpowder tea is a type of Chinese green tea that’s rolled into small pellets resembling gunpowder, hence the name.

This tea has a bold and smoky flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Gunpowder tea is known for its high caffeine content, which can provide an energy boost and improve mental alertness.

It also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

 

HOW TO BREW:

To brew gunpowder tea, it’s recommended to use water that’s around 80-85°C (176-185°F) for 2-3 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

The pellets will unfurl during brewing to release their full flavor and aroma.

Gunpowder tea is often enjoyed plain or with a small amount of sugar or honey to balance out the bitterness.

Overall, gunpowder tea is a unique and flavorful beverage that’s perfect for those who enjoy strong and robust teas.

 

Green Tea Gunpowder

6. JASMINE

Jasmine tea is a type of scented tea that’s made by combining green, black, or white tea with jasmine flowers.

This tea has a delicate and floral flavor with a sweet aroma that’s reminiscent of fresh jasmine flowers.

Jasmine tea is known for its calming properties and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

It also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

 

HOW TO BREW:

To brew jasmine tea, it’s recommended to use water that’s around 80-85°C (176-185°F) for 2-3 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

The tea should be steeped with fresh jasmine flowers or with high-quality jasmine tea leaves to ensure a strong aroma and flavor.

Jasmine tea can be enjoyed plain or with a small amount of honey or sugar to enhance its natural sweetness.

 

Green Tea Jasmine

7. BANCHA

Bancha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that’s made from the mature leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.

This tea has a mild and earthy flavor with a slightly nutty aftertaste.

Bancha tea is known for its low caffeine content, which makes it a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy green tea without the jitters.

It also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

HOW TO BREW:

To brew bancha tea, it’s recommended to use water that’s around 80-85°C (176-185°F) for 1-2 minutes, depending on the desired strength.

The leaves should be steeped only once, as subsequent steeps will result in a weaker flavor.

Bancha tea is often enjoyed plain or with a small amount of honey or sugar to balance out the mild bitterness.

Green Tea Bancha

These are just a few examples of the many different types of green teas available around the world. Each variety offers something unique in terms of taste, aroma, and health benefits.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OR RISKS

While green tea is generally considered safe and has many health benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects or risks associated with consuming it:

1. CAFFEINE SENSITIVITY

Green tea is a type of tea that contains caffeine, albeit in smaller quantities compared to coffee or black tea.

While green tea is generally considered safe and beneficial for most people, those with caffeine sensitivity may still experience adverse effects after consuming it.

The amount of caffeine in green tea can vary depending on the type of green tea, brewing method, and serving size.

To reduce the risk of negative side effects, individuals with caffeine sensitivity should limit their intake of green tea or opt for decaffeinated varieties.

It’s also recommended to consume green tea earlier in the day to avoid interfering with sleep patterns.

2. STOMACH IRRITATION

Some individuals may experience stomach irritation or other digestive issues after consuming green tea.

This could be due to a variety of factors, including the caffeine content in green tea, tannins (natural compounds that can irritate the digestive system), or simply an individual’s sensitivity to certain ingredients.

To reduce the risk of stomach irritation from green tea, it’s recommended to consume it in moderation and with food.

You can also try opting for lower-caffeine varieties of green tea or experimenting with different brewing methods to see if that makes a difference.

3. IRON ABSORPTION

Green tea contains compounds called polyphenols, which can bind to iron and inhibit its absorption in the body.

This means that individuals who are at risk for iron deficiency or anemia may want to be cautious about consuming green tea with meals or supplements that contain iron.

However, this effect is generally mild and is unlikely to cause significant problems unless you are already at high risk for iron deficiency.

To maximize your iron absorption while still enjoying the benefits of green tea, it’s recommended to consume it between meals rather than with them.

You can also try adding lemon juice to your green tea, as the vitamin C in lemon juice can help enhance iron absorption.

4. MEDICATION INTERACTIONS

Green tea can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and some antidepressants. If you’re taking any prescription medications, talk to your doctor before adding green tea to your diet.

5. PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be cautious about consuming large amounts of green tea.

This is because green tea contains caffeine, which can cross the placenta and affect the fetus or pass into breast milk and affect a nursing infant.

High levels of caffeine have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and other complications during pregnancy.

Additionally, some studies suggest that certain compounds in green tea may interfere with folic acid absorption, which is important for fetal development.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended to limit your intake of green tea to no more than 2-3 cups per day.

You can also consider opting for decaffeinated varieties or herbal teas that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It’s also worth noting that some lower-quality green teas may contain excessive levels of lead or other heavy metals, so it’s important to purchase high-quality teas from reputable sources.

As always, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

SUMMARY

Green tea is a popular beverage that offers numerous health benefits and comes in many different varieties.

While it’s generally considered safe for most people to consume, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects or risks associated with drinking green tea, such as caffeine sensitivity, stomach irritation, medication interactions, and concerns for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

By purchasing high-quality green teas from reputable sources and consuming it in moderation, you can enjoy the unique flavor and health benefits of this delicious beverage.