Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world.
But the reasons for its popularity are broad, and sometimes, confusing.
Green tea benefits are said to include detoxification aspects, along with brain health improvements and weight loss.
Others believe green tea benefits include a “sense of zen.”
But wait, doesn’t green tea have caffeine? What’s “zen” about caffeine? (NOT TO WORRY…we will get to that!)
Green tea is overwhelming revered for its health benefits, no matter which of those benefits is your driving factor to drink it.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea benefits are well-documented and scientifically proven. And well, the list of benefits of green tea is much longer than many probably think they are.
Green Tea Is Dense With Polyphenols, Antioxidants
Polyphenols and antioxidants are inflammation-slayers.
Inflammation is linked to cancer and many other degenerative diseases, so it is essential to reduce it as much as humanly possible.
That’s what’s great about polyphenols and antioxidants in green tea, they reduce the inflammation throughout the body.
In fact, they do so by waging war on what’s known as free radicals, which are compounds that attack our cells and contribute to inflammation. This means that green tea helps to protect the health of cells.
Epigallocatechin Gallate, otherwise known as EGCG, is one of the most potent compounds you will find. Fortunately, green tea has lots of EGCG!
Green Tea and L-Theanine – A Brainy Experience
Green tea can make you smarter.
And oddly, it isn’t just because of green tea’s caffeine density.
Green tea also has lots of the nootropic, L-Theanine. The L-Theanine in green tea is naturally occurring.
L-Theanine on its own is a potent nootropic that helps with focus, concentration, and memory. In fact, the science behind L-Theanine is nothing short of STUNNING.
L-Theanine invokes the activity of the neurotransmitter, GABA.
Yes, you know, GABA, the neurotransmitter that helps you sleep…
Not to worry, though, L-Theanine will not necessarily make you sleepy. It simply improves your brain’s focus and ability to retain information.
Some people take L-Theanine with coffee as a way to reduce the “edgy feeling” associated with coffee.
You’ve heard people say that “green tea’s caffeine is milder than coffee’s…”
But that’s a myth.
Green tea and coffee have the same caffeine, the uncommon denominator is the presence of L-Theanine.
Mind blown yet?
Just wait, it keeps getting better for green tea…
Green Tea May Burn Fat
Yep, and this isn’t fake news.
In one study green tea helped increase fat burn in men by 4%.
One study showed that green tea targets fat.
Additionally, green tea has caffeine, a stimulant that is often associated with fat loss.
Additionally, green tea may prompt a faster metabolism.
Clearly, a slow metabolism is the hallmark of obesity conditions in the body.
Green Tea Boost Brain Health
This isn’t the same as our earlier section on improved memory and focus based on L-Theanine (well, not really, at least).
Green tea may help to ward off Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
A number of studies have connected catechin compounds found in green tea to brain protection from degenerative diseases.
Green Tea May Fight Diabetes
Green tea may help to fight type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a result of insulin resistance that prompts high blood sugar environments in the body.
Green tea may improve that insulin sensitivity, according to science.
Drink Green Tea, Live Longer
Those Japanese folks certainly do live a long time, don’t they?
Well, they also gulp down lots of green tea.
Green tea is embedded in Japan’s culture.
Japanese people who drank at least 5 cups of green tea per day lived longer than those who didn’t.
Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?
“Does green tea have caffeine” is one of the most popular questions regarding this drink.
In short, absolutely yes, green tea has caffeine in it.
So why on earth do people ask this question?
Green Tea Is Often A ‘Caffeine Replacer’
The main reason that many people get confused regarding the presence of caffeine-content in green tea is because lots of people who quit caffeine drink green tea.
So what gives?
First and foremost, those people are drinking caffeine…just less of it.
Because green tea has a reputation for being a “less harsh caffeine experience,” many people disregard its caffeine content.
But that’s a big fat mistake.
If you have issues with caffeine, you need to understand that green tea has caffeine. If you are under doctors orders to avoid caffeine, you need to stop green tea consumption unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
Green tea not only has less caffeine, but it also has L-Theanine. The amino acid L-Theanine tends to manage or reduce caffeine’s harsh edge (like the come down). We discussed this in the green tea benefits section.
But just because green tea’s caffeine is managed better doesn’t mean the caffeine isn’t the same.
Overall, green tea has roughly 1/3rd less caffeine than coffee of the same pour. Yes, that’s a huge caffeine reduction.
So if you are cutting back on caffeine, green tea is a great solution.
If you are quitting caffeine entirely, green tea isn’t for you.
Did all of that make sense?
Let’s move on!
How Much Caffeine In Green Tea?
35 mg to 50 mg Per 8-oz (230-ml)
Again, that’s 1/3rd less than the caffeine found in the same amount of coffee (on average).
Different strains of green tea leaves have varying amounts of caffeine. So like coffee, you may not always know the exact amount of caffeine content that’s present. But you can always have a rough idea.
There are other considerations you can make if you really want to narrow it down as much as possible…
Green tea leaves that are younger tend to be stronger than green tea leaves that are older in age.
A bagged green tea will be stronger than a loose-leaf one. The process of smashing the leaves extracts more caffeine.
Matcha green tea is always more potent than all other green teas. Matcha green tea is a popular tea for many Starbucks drinks.
Finally, hot water exposure time influences caffeine present in green tea. The longer the green tea is steeped in hot water, the more caffeine it extracts.
Other than soft drinks, green tea tends to be the most modest in terms of caffeine content.
For example, black tea ranges from 25 to110 mg in caffeine content.
Brewed coffee stands in anywhere from 100 mg to 200 mg. Starbucks brewed coffees are on the high side…
Espresso is 240 mg to over 700 mg. That’s potent stuff!
The recommended maximum amount of caffeine is 400 mg. This is why green tea is so popular for people looking to reduce or manage caffeine intake.
Green Tea Weight Loss – Fact or Fiction?
I’ve already touched on this, but I believe it deserves its own section.
Green tea and weight loss are commonly linked together. Many people drink green tea hoping that it will accelerate the fat burning process.
Here’s the thing: If you eat unhealthily and don’t exercise, green tea isn’t going to become your weight loss savior. In fact, it isn’t likely to move the needle south at all.
But if you eat healthily, green tea can be a nice addition to your weight loss strategy.
If you eat green tea ice cream, that’s not going to work.
Because green tea is marketed as a weight loss product, the green tea industry is now worth more than $140 million. Green tea contains no relevant calories or carbs. The caffeine in green tea can help speed up the central nervous system, thereby contributing to some aspects of weight loss.
Green tea weight loss, in the end, is derived from the replacement concept. If you commonly drink sugary orange juice or calorie infested lattes in the morning, replacing that with simple green tea is a huge dietary benefit. It means more health and less crap.
But don’t put green tea in your diet as the pilar of your weight loss stategy, that’s sure to fail.
Matcha Green Tea
If you are new to green teas, then you might be feeling confused over matcha green tea.
You often see the term in your grocery stores and Starbucks alike.
So what is it?
I will say this as plainly and as simply to begin: Matcha green tea is regular green tea but on steroids.
Don’t worry, that’s a metaphor I’m using to relay the message that matcha green tea is a more potent version of regular green tea. It has all the same benefits, just amplified.
If you ever notice, matcha green tea on store racks is often sold in small shot cans.
Predictably, matcha green tea will taste stronger than regular green tea.
Matcha green tea contains one of the most powerful antioxidants on earth called catechins. The exact catechin is called EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate). And it is known to stave off cancer growth.
Allow me to break down the nutrient density of matcha green tea. This is based on 1 gram of matcha green tea…
- Catechins – 105 mg
- EGCg – 61 mg
- Potassium – 26.6 mg
- L-Theanine – 14.26 mg
- Vitamin A – 291 units
- Vitamin C – 1.75 mg
- Caffeine – 35 mg
That’s a healthy dose of…well…HEALTH!
Matcha green tea is often used in ice cream as well. That might not be as healthy of a way to ingest it, though (kinda obvious). I’ve even seen matcha green tea donuts (weird, yep).
Green Tea Taste
And now for the million dollar question!
What does green tea taste like?
Well, it depends on who you ask…
Any legit green tea is going to taste earthy.
You will definitely taste the green tea leaves.
For some, particularly those transitioning from coffee, that earthy-leafy taste profile is a bit of a turn off.
But legitimate, non-processed versions of green tea should deliver a bit of a leafy taste. Green tea is, in fact, made of green tea leaves that are steeped in hot water.
Most bottled green teas, such as ones made by reliable brands such as The Honest Company, will inherently have the earthy taste.
That’s a good thing.
But for those who hate that earthy taste…
You can simply add some honey to your green tea and that will knock down some of the earthy bite. The leafy taste isn’t overwhelming, its more of an aftertaste experience that most people get used to and learn to appreciate. But for those who don’t, add some honey.
Some people add coconut oil to their green tea. While I’m a big fan coconut oil, I’m not a huge fan of its taste inside a green tea. It is healthy, however, and worth a shot for those willing to experiment a bit.
Adding honey or coconut oil can really only be done when your green tea is hot, rather than cold. Coconut oil and honey both harden up at cooler temperatures.
Places such as Starbucks have a variety of green tea drinks, mostly sugary in their concoctions. Many of the green tea health benefits might be thwarted by the addition of processed sugars.
Green tea benefits are scientifically proven and widely accepted around the world. Green tea is enjoyed around the world and has been enjoyed for centuries. Green tea’s lower caffeine density along with its L-Theanine content makes it a great replacement for coffee for those seeking to lower their caffeine intake.
Green tea has an earthy taste that not everyone enjoys, but using honey can cut that somewhat. It can be enjoyed both cold and hot. Its affordable and available.
Green tea is a great solution for those looking to replace their coffee with something that has potent nutritional density.