Green tea hosts an array of benefits, and it is no wonder that it has been consumed by humans since around 2000 BCE! A cup of plain, steeped green tea without added sweeteners has only 2 calories. So replaced with sugary beverages like soda, green tea can be an excellent aid for weight loss. The taste is uniquely floral, smooth, and earthy due to the low oxidation and careful processing of the tea leaves, allowing its’ flavors to blossom.
If you want to brew a cup of classic green tea, try the Japanese sencha or Chinese jasmine varieties. If you want something bold, fancy, and a little more expensive (but worth it) try Japanese matcha, a powder that you mix directly into hot water, similar to how you make instant coffee!
Many studies have examined the possible health benefits of green tea. Many systematic reviews show that green tea can aid in weight loss, reduce the likelihood of certain cancers, and possibly prevent heart disease and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus when consumed daily and with a healthful diet.
Spilling the tea on green tea… Green tea has been a very popular topic in research – it has been studied to help with weight loss and support heart and cardiovascular health. Although ongoing research is needed, green tea may reduce cancer risk by reducing growths of prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. It may also help increase brain function and reduce the risk of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s.
Considered a powerful superfood, the tea contains minerals, caffeine, polyphenols, antioxidants, and a cool compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains theanine, which may play a role in stress reduction.
Many of green tea’s benefits can be attributed to its caffeine content. Containing about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, green tea has about 30-50 grams of caffeine per cup. Caffeine is known to help with mental acuity, mood, concentration, and focus. Not only that, caffeine can speed up the body’s metabolic rate, burning calories more quickly while at the same time reducing the body’s caloric needs. This is a way in which weight loss can occur!
It is important to drink green tea with food to avoid stomach upset, since it can cause an increase in stomach acid. Also, the caffeine content in the tea can cause difficulty sleeping and headaches. So, if you are prone to acid reflux, headaches, or migraines, it may be a good idea to avoid drinking green tea. If you are an IBS sufferer, also steer clear of green tea due to its’ mild laxative effect.
Make sure you know what is being added to your tea… Brands like Arizona add a ton of added sugar to their green tea with ginseng flavor. One 16.9oz bottle contains 34 grams of added sugar coming from cane sugar and honey. Both cane sugar and honey are considered added sugars. Added sugar not only promotes the likelihood for weight gain, but has also been linked with diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, liver disease, and heart disease.
You may wonder, what about diet green tea? Arizona diet green tea with ginseng contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Excess artificial sweeteners need further research to determine if there are any negative effects on the body. Nonetheless, the beneficial effects of green tea may be counteracted by questionable ingredients in beverages like diet green teas.
Is Matcha healthier?
Matcha is increasingly popular- it takes the young tea leaves and grinds them into a fine powder that then gets whisked with hot water. Since the whole tea leaf is ground into the powder, matcha is known to contain the most beneficial compounds from the tea leaves. The taste is smoother and more buttery than steeped green tea. And as a bonus, you can add it to other types of foods since it can be directly added as an ingredient – bread, cookies, ice cream, you name it!
But be aware of the added sugar and fat in drinks such as the Starbucks matcha lattes. These can have full-fat milk and added sugars that considerably increase the calories in the drink and potentially reduce the benefits you should be so excited about in green tea. Aim for less than a teaspoon of added sweetener or honey in your latte, and use skim milk, 1% milk, unsweetened soy milk, or light coconut milk to lighten up the drink, especially if being consumed regularly.
Watch the caffeine… Remember that 400mg for adults is considered the maximum amount of caffeine shown to not cause harmful effects. This would be equivalent to about 8 cups of green tea (that’s a lot of tea!) It is also recommended to limit caffeine to 200mg per day for pregnant women, which is equivalent to about 1 cup of coffee or 2 cups of caffeinated tea.
To sum it all up, it’s important to remember that plain green tea (without any added sweeteners) hosts an array of benefits. If you have a sweet tooth and want to incorporate the tea but also add a little flavor, go for a teaspoon of honey in one cup (this only adds about 20 calories!) It’s also a good idea to stick with drinking green tea than taking it as an extract or a shot. If you want to talk about a reduction of the benefits from green tea if it’s loaded with sugar, don’t even get us started on alcohol! Happy sipping!
Green Tea FAQ
Q: How much caffeine is in green tea? In a shot?
A: In a cup? A green tea shot has about 6mg of caffeine, while a cup of green tea has about 30-50mg.
Q: How long should you steep green tea?
A: 3 minutes is your rule of thumb for steeping green tea. Use hot, but not boiling, water.
Q: How do you make iced green tea?
A: Steep green tea bag in half a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Then fill a glass with ice and pour the tea over and stir.
Q: Does Arizona green tea have caffeine?
A: Yes, Arizona green tea has about 8mg of caffeine per 8-oz serving, which is about a quarter of the caffeine in your average cup of green tea.
Q: Is regular green tea or matcha green tea better for you?
A: When consumed plain and without sugar, both plain green tea and matcha green tea host similar benefits.
Q: How many calories are in green tea?
A: Each cup of UNSWEETENED green tea has 2 calories per cup. Added sweeteners contribute considerable amounts of added sugar and calories. If you are looking to keep the tea less than 25 calories, remember a teaspoon of honey adds at most 20 calories per cup and is your best natural sweetener. More research is needed for low-calorie sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia.
Q: Is green tea a diuretic?
A: Yes, due to the caffeine present in green tea, this does have a mild diuretic effect on the body. This means that you will produce more urine and get rid of more fluid in the body.
Q: Does green tea make you poop?
A: The caffeine in green tea can make some people poop and cause a laxative effect. However, drinking enough fluids (6-8 cups) and eating enough fiber-rich foods (30 grams per day on average) is what is most important when it comes to healthy bowel habits, so don’t rely on caffeine for daily poops!
Q: Is green tea acidic?
A: No, in fact, green tea is one of the only types of tea that is considered alkaline, meaning its pH is above 7. Most other herbal teas and black tea are acidic, as is coffee. However, green tea may exacerbate acid reflux due to the tannin content.
Q: Can you drink green tea while pregnant?
A: One cup of caffeinated green tea is considered safe for pregnant women. If you like tea and want more throughout the day, find a decaffeinated or herbal tea in order to keep the amount of caffeine to a minimum.