Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, applied to heat either by cooking or steaming ( instead of fermenting) to minimize oxidation. The components of green tea catechins ( antioxidants) are very unique and contain concentrated epigallocatechin-3-gallate, better well known as EGCG. It is popular for its myriad health benefits such as fighting off cancer, lowering bad cholesterol, preventing potential strokes, preventing diabetes, speeding up metabolism, burning fats, and so on. No one can dispute that green tea has become the regular drink for health enthusiasts across the world. Nevertheless, regardless of its compelling health advantages, many argue that its drawback is the caffeine content. Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system and heart that increases blood pressure.
Comparison of Green Tea in Different Beverages
For every eight ounces of green tea, it is estimated that you can get 20- 30 mg of caffeine. Coffee has 40-170 mg of caffeine in a five-ounce cup; cola has, 30-60 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can: black tea has 25-110 mg of caffeine per eight ounces; and white tea contains 6-25 mg of caffeine per eight ounces.
Unlike other caffeinated beverages with side effects of nervousness, palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and headache, green tea provides a steady, gentle stimulation. Its compound L-theanine is an amino acid, which, according to research, is considered a caffeine antagonist with calming effect on the brain that can offset the effect of the caffeine.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Needless to say, green tea is a better alternative to other caffeinated beverages. Here are some of the conclusive results on as to how green tea is beneficial to health.
- With its powerful antioxidant component, it can inhibit cancer cells from thriving without harming the healthy cells.
- It is helpful in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels and prevents development of blood clotting such as thrombosis, the primary cause of stroke and heart attack. It reduces absorption in the digestive tract and increases the rate of excretion. Green tea also prevents the conversion of LDL cholesterol plaque, which builds up and blocks the arteries.
- More researches has found how green tea can help people lose weight. According to “Clinical Nutrition” published in American Journal, green tea extract can burn more calories as it can speed up metabolism and suppress the appetite with the effect of caffeine.
- Moreover, green tea has bacteria-destroying capabilities to prevent food poisoning and tooth decay. The Journal of Periodontology stated that drinking green tea may decrease indicators of gum disease. It is also surprising that fluoride, which is well known for its protection against cavities is found in green tea.
- Green tea boosts the immune system. In a research conducted at Women’s Hospital in 2003, the theanine in green tea boosted the gamma delta cells that form our innate immunity. In a study conducted on coffee drinkers and green tea drinkers, blood samples showed that production of anti-bacterial proteins was higher in green tea drinkers.
Reducing the Amount of Caffeine in Green Tea
If you think you cannot handle the amount of caffeine in your favorite green tea, you can take the following measures to enjoy your green tea by lowering the side effects of caffeine.
- Remember that younger tea produces more caffeine, so you better know your green tea! Buy loose green tea leaves, rather than teabags. You can get the same quality but with less caffeine. Research conducted at Auburn University found that broken pieces in tea bags produced more caffeine than what is released in loose green tea leaves.
- Do not brew your green tea with boiling water as it destroys the catechins and polyphenols, the antioxidants that provide its health benefits.
- Another tip is to throw away the first infusion when you dissolve the tea compounds in hot water after steeping the tea for 30 seconds. By doing this, you can release the 80 percent caffeine. You can diffuse your green tea up to three times but do not over-steep the tea, for it may produce a bitter taste. Drink it while it’s hot.
- If you do not want to bother with the process of lowering the caffeine yourself, you may purchase a decaffeinated green tea, available in the market.
- Lastly, reduce your consumption of green tea to one or two of 8 ounce servings a day.