5 Health Benefits of Green Tea
You don’t have to be an avid tea drinker to know that green tea boasts a variety of benefits. Originating in China and Japan, green tea has been used all over the world for centuries—and for good reason.
Green tea isn’t just a popular drink; it can also be used medicinally, and even as part of your skincare routine.
Keep reading to learn more about the health-boosting benefits of green tea.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of the “Camellia sinensis” plant, an evergreen shrub that originates in southwest China.
Fun fact: green tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong tea all come from the same plant. In fact, the only difference between the types of tea is how they’re prepared.
Green tea is made by harvesting the tea leaves by hand and immediately preserving them with heat. In Japan, green tea is typically preserved with steam, while Chinese green teas tend to use dry heat such as an oven or wok.
The way the tea is processed will also affect its taste, with some green tea varieties being grassy and citrusy and others being more floral and sweet. Some green teas are made purely with the leaves, while others use a combination of leaves and stems.
Just take a look at the tea aisle of your local grocery store, and you’ll see the wide variety of green teas to choose from!
Green Tea Caffeine Content
While green tea does contain caffeine—between 12-75 mg per 8-ounce drink—it typically contains less than coffee or black teas.
For context, 8 ounces of coffee can contain between 80-200 mg of caffeine and 8 ounces of black tea can contain between 40-120 mg of caffeine. Herbal teas, on the other hand, have no caffeine at all.
The exact amount of caffeine varies depending on a few different factors: tea bags or loose-leaf tea, how the brand manufactures its tea, and how strongly it was brewed, for example.
Note that some types of green tea, such as matcha, are significantly stronger than standard green teas and can contain more caffeine than black tea or even coffee.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea’s primary health benefits stem from two main factors: its caffeine content, and lots and lots of antioxidants.
In addition to potentially reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke, some of our favorite health benefits of green tea include:
1. Improves Focus
Fighting fatigue, or struggling to get out of that mid-afternoon slump? Try brewing yourself a cup of green tea.
While coffee can cause jitters or enhanced anxiety if you drink too much, green tea offers a milder, more stabilized energy boost. That small dose of caffeine can act as the perfect pick-me-up, and even help to get rid of headaches.
In addition to caffeine, green tea also contains L-theanine—an amino acid that increases dopamine and boosts brain function.
If you’re looking for a caffeine-free alternative that won’t cause jitters, consider trying Hilo’s Energize gummy which contains 1040% of your daily value of B12 for a natural boostof energy.
2. Supports Healthy Digestion
Green tea contains polyphenols, which are micronutrients that naturally occur in some plants. These polyphenols help the body break down food and stimulate the digestive system.
In other words, green tea helps to fight inflammation, reduce bloating and gassiness, reduce abdominal discomfort, and keep your digestive system moving regularly.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Along with promoting healthy digestion, green tea has also been shown to boost metabolism and increase fat burning (particularly in the belly area).
While not all studies agree that green tea helps with fat loss, its low calorie count certainly doesn’t hurt – especially when sipped as an alternative to soda and other high-calorie beverages.
4. Promotes Oral Health
Green tea contains catechins, which inhibit the growth of certain bacteria which contribute to plaque formation, cavities, and tooth decay.
While we’re definitely not telling you to replace your toothbrush and mouthwash with a cup of green tea, studies have shown that green tea may be helpful for combating bad breath.
5. Boosts Skin Health
With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, green tea may be a helpful addition to your skincare routine. Along with improving circulation, it has been shown to reduce acne, redness, and signs of aging. Plus, it’s hydrating!
It’s always a good idea to boost your skin health from the inside out with a healthy diet, but you can also topically apply green tea to your skin in the form of a DIY face mask or store-bought product.
How to Use Green Tea
Ready to reap the benefits of green tea? Here are a few different ways to try it:
Green Tea Beverages
Follow the instructions on the product label, whether you’ve purchased tea bags, loose-leaf tea, or even instant tea powders. Typically, you’ll want to steep your green tea anywhere between 30 seconds to 4 minutes, keeping in mind that steeping too long will make it taste bitter.
You can drink green tea hot or cold. It’s just fine on its own, or it can be combined with other flavors—take jasmine green tea, for example. Another option is to purchase bottled green tea, though it typically contains added sugars or sweeteners.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, limit your green tea consumption to 2-3 cups during the day. As you get closer to bedtime, replace it with decaf or herbal teas.
Green Tea Food Recipes
An online search for green tea food recipes will yield hundreds of results from sweet to savory.
A few examples:
- Green tea ice cream
- Green tea mochi
- Green tea smoothies
- Green tea sauce
Green tea noodles
…the list goes on!
Green Tea Face Mask
If you want to use green tea for its skin health benefits, try making a DIY face mask.
First, you’ll need to brew a cup of green tea, letting it steep longer than you usually would for drinking. Let it cool, and then remove the leaves from the tea bag or infuser and mix them in a bowl with about one teaspoon each of baking soda and honey. You should end up with a paste, but if it’s too thick you can add a bit of water.
Apply the paste evenly to your clean face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and continue with the rest of your skincare routine.
Green Tea Supplements
If you’re not a fan of green tea in beverage form, you may want to try green tea supplements in the form of capsules or liquid extracts.
You can also try Go Organic’s Energy Support Gummies, created with green tea and vitamin B12 to boost energy levels and improve concentration.
While caffeine does have its benefits, excessive caffeine consumption can do more harm than good. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or already consume a decent amount of caffeinated beverages each day, you’ll want to limit your green tea consumption.
Even better, replace some of those strongly-caffeinated drinks with a cup of mildly-caffeinated green tea!