About 60% of the tea production in China is green tea. Green tea is produced…
Chinese green tea has become incredibly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Its delicious taste paired with powerful health benefits makes it a go-to beverage for many health-conscious individuals. But with so many different types and preparations of green tea available, many wonder – can I drink Chinese green tea every day? Will doing so provide continued benefits, or are there potential drawbacks I should know about? Let’s take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of making green tea a daily habit.
An Abundance of Antioxidants
One of the main reasons Chinese green tea is so highly touted is its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to chronic disease. The most potent antioxidants in green tea are polyphenols like EGCG. Research shows these antioxidants have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, and antioxidant effects. Drinking green tea daily floods your body with these protective compounds.
Boosts Brain Health
Several studies demonstrate drinking green tea can benefit your noggin. The amino acid L-theanine in green tea boosts alpha brain wave activity, inducing a state of calm, focused alertness. Green tea also contains small amounts of caffeine, providing an energizing lift without the jitteriness of coffee. One study found people who drank green tea daily had up to a 30% lower risk of cognitive decline. The polyphenols seem to have neuroprotective effects, reducing the risk of stroke and dementia.
Supports Heart Health
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in green tea do wonders for cardiovascular health. Green tea improves blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. A Japanese study found those who drank 5 cups of green tea daily had significantly lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to those who drank less than one cup per day. Compounds in green tea also reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol.
May Aid Weight Loss
While results are mixed, several studies suggest green tea may give your metabolism a boost, helping you burn more calories. Green tea seems to reduce appetite and cravings. One study found healthy men consuming green tea extract burned 4% more calories over 24 hours than those taking a placebo. The beneficial catechins in green tea also increase fat oxidation. So drinking green tea daily may help a bit with shedding pounds.
Sure, water is best for hydrating, but green tea can provide valuable fluids as well. It’s composed of 99.5% water, so counts toward your daily fluid intake. It’s far healthier than sugary sodas and fruit drinks. Drinking green tea can help you meet the recommended 11-15 cups of fluid daily. Just be wary of overdoing caffeine, which acts as a mild diuretic.
Easy to Incorporate into Your Routine
One of the best things about green tea is that it’s incredibly easy to make part of your regular routine. Simply steeping green tea bags or loose leaf tea each morning can become a soothing ritual. Cold-brewing a pitcher to enjoy over ice makes a refreshing summer drink. And green tea’s versatility allows you to get creative with latte recipes, smoothies, matcha baked goods, and more! It’s an easy way to boost your antioxidant intake from dawn to dusk.
Potential Drawbacks of Too Much Green Tea
While the benefits of green tea are plentiful, regularly drinking very high amounts can potentially cause some issues over time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Caffeine Sensitivity: The caffeine in green tea can cause anxiety, insomnia, irritability, digestive issues, and rapid heartbeat in those sensitive to stimulants.
- Iron Absorption: Compounds in green tea can bind to non-heme iron from plant sources, reducing absorption. Those with low iron levels should take tea between meals.
- Tooth Staining: Both green and black tea can stain teeth over time, especially if consumed without rinsing with water after.
- Blood Thinners: Green tea contains vitamin K, which can interfere with blood thinning medication. Check with your doctor.
The key is moderation. Up to 3 cups of green tea per day seems to be optimal for most people to garner benefits without adverse effects. Pay attention to your individual response.
Is it okay to drink green tea at night?
Due to the caffeine content in green tea, it is best avoided close to bedtime by those sensitive to stimulants for sleep. However, drinking green tea earlier in the day is beneficial.
Does adding milk reduce the health benefits?
Milk may bind to and dilute some of the antioxidants in green tea, reducing the beneficial effects. For maximum benefit, avoid adding milk and sweeteners.
Is green tea dehydrating because of the caffeine?
The small amount of caffeine in green tea does have a mild diuretic effect, but overall green tea is hydrating due to its high water content. Moderation is key.
Is green tea acidic?
Green tea has a pH around 7.2-7.6, making it neither acidic nor alkaline, and very unlikely to cause issues. Black tea is slightly more acidic. Herbal blends may be more alkaline.
So what’s the verdict on making green tea an everyday habit? Evidence indicates drinking 1-3 cups of green tea per day provides a boatload of benefits, from boosting brain health to supporting weight loss and hydration. However, too much can cause potential issues due to excess caffeine or diminished nutrient absorption. As with most things, regular green tea consumption in moderation appears to be ideal for most people to reap its perks. Use your best judgment and listen to your body’s cues. Getting into a daily routine of steeping some green tea is an easy way to boost overall well-being.