Wondering when to drink green tea for maximum benefits ? Like staying up late to finish a long task, or getting all the antioxidants, green tea has slightly stronger effects when taken in certain times.
But to know which time is best for your to drink green tea, we first need to know why green tea works in achieving better health.
How green tea helps you achieve health goals
The Camellia sinensis happens to be a plant high in caffeine - not as high as coffee though - and its leaves produce large amounts of antioxidants.
They're present in all teas produced from this plant, but green tea happens to have the most (after Matcha). This is because the leaves are processed by very little heat, so they retain many of their properties. As opposed to black tea for example.
These antioxidants are what give your body a boost when it needs it. They mostly deal with free radicals in your body, which would otherwise lead to irregular cell growth, but that's not all.
Antioxidants from the Camellia sinensis plant also help in reducing fat absorption, and then there is the caffeine content. The caffeine in tea works differently than in coffee.
In tea it's more gentle, so instead of a jolt an sudden rush of energy, there is a slower but balanced release of energy in your body. That's because the L-theanine in the tea bonds with the caffeine, and it becomes a gentler process.
Make no mistake, all teas from this plant contain caffeine. Just some are higher in caffeine, like the green tea. To be fair, white tea has a higher caffeine count but that's beside this article.
So your nice cup of green tea's got pretty much everything you'll need to get your body on track, as long as you've got a proper diet and aren't sedentary.
Now let's take a look at the main reasons people would like to drink green tea for the health benefits, because it matters at which point in the day you drink your green tea if you want to achieve a certain goal.
Drinking green tea for weight loss
When it comes to losing weight, green tea can help, but only to an extent. I feel duty-bound to at least mention this: green tea, like any other aid in weight loss, will not work unless you have a sound diet and an exercise plan.
There are weight loss benefits in green tea, but they aren't the saving grace for someone who isn't taking care of their body.
I'm only saying this since I used to work in the weight loss circuit, and the team I was working with always got questions about which weight loss supplement works best (including green tea).
So do your part, be responsible, and green tea will help you out as well.
As for why green tea can help you lose weight, remember the antioxidants and caffeine. They will reduce the absorption of macronutrients like fats and protein from animals, so they could be handy in a weight loss scenario.
Another reason is that the caffeine in green tea will naturally boost your metabolism, which will in turn burn through the nutrients faster and more efficiently.
Still, overloading your plate will cancel out that big cup of green tea.
For weight loss you should drink green tea right with your meals, but make sure you do not drink more than 3 cups of green tea per day.
Also remember that green tea can be a little harsh on your stomach, and it might make you feel like you've eaten nothing if you drink too much. This is because the alkalinity of the tea will make your stomach produce extra gastric acid, and you'll run through your food quicker.
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Drinking green tea for focus and productivity
Focus and productivity are god friends with green tea. I have a cup of green tea at work most days, as a sort of pick me up and to keep me 'there'.
I could always drink coffee, sure, but there are two problems. First, the coffee there is horrible and burnt. There is no way of making it taste acceptable, and I've tried over the years.
Second, caffeine in coffee acts like a sudden kick, and I hate the jitters from an espresso. I prefer the gentle but steady wake-up from green tea.
Here the caffeine in green tea is the main star. It's exactly because of how gentle the caffeine is that it's a better option than coffee. Tea contains several nutrients and antioxidants, and among them there is L-theanine.
This little guy bonds with the caffeine molecules and makes them break down slower in your body. So this means they have a slower release, and it will be more even.
The effect of caffeine is also slightly dampened, so that's another plus for you. No sudden jolts, no jitters, no profuse sweating. Unless you're seriously overdoing the green tea.
It's very easy to go overboard with the caffeine we drink every day, as coffee drinkers know. Each person has a certain tolerance, and we often push ourselves past that point, especially when we drink a very strong cup of coffee.
With tea though, that's hard to do. A cup of green tea has barely half the caffeine of a cup of coffee of equal size. So you'd have to be drinking quite a bit of green tea to get jittery.
So if you're looking to drink green tea for help with your current task and to keep you focused, you can drink it whenever you need it. As in, if you have to stay up late to finish a project, go ahead and drink your green tea in the evening if you need it then.
Just make sure you don't drink it right with your meal, since the food will dampen the absorption of the caffeine. It will still get absorbed and work its magic, but much slower.
Drinking green tea for the antioxidants
Ah yes, the antioxidants. The biggest reason green tea became famous in the West, and it's got its benefits.
Those antioxidants work very well to help your body feel fresh, and keep you up and running. But they can be canceled out if you drink the green tea with your meal.
This is the very reason your green tea helps with weight loss. If you want to counter some of the fats in your food, you're losing most of the antioxidants.
But if you want the full benefits of the antioxidants in your green tea, you should take it between meals. At least two hours after your meals, or at least two hours before them.
This way you can be sure that your food won't interfere with the tea. It's also one of the main reasons green tea should not be mixed with animal milk at all, ever.
But there's more to your green tea than its usual loose leaf or tea bag version. Matcha is the Batman of green tea, so if you're looking for antioxidants, that's what you should be drinking.
Splurge on Matcha for the full list of antioxidants in your cup
Matcha is green tea, but much stronger. It's made from the same leaves as green tea, only they've been processed differently, and then dried.
The dry leaves are milled info a very fine powder, which you then mix into hot water. This means you end up drinking the entire tea leaf, not just an infusion.
Yes, this means much more antioxidants than your usual cup of green tea. In fact you'd have to drink about 10 cups of regular loose leaf green tea to match a cup of Matcha.
When to not drink green tea, ever
All of this being said, there are some moments when you'll want to avoid green tea. There is such a thing as too much green tea, and you shouldn't be going past 3 cups of green tea per day.
This is because its alkalinity can have an effect on the health of your stomach, and the caffeine can be a little much. Especially if you don't drink coffee at all.
Don't drink green tea first thing in the morning
If you know you have a sensitive stomach, do not drink green tea on an empty stomach, at all. This also means that drinking green tea first thing in the morning is not going to be a smart move.
The tea will trigger your stomach into producing more gastric acid, and you might end up with stomach cramps.
This is also the same reason you shouldn't be drinking coffee on an empty stomach, as so many of us are or were guilty of.
A caffeine-based drink seems like the best thing to drink first thing in the morning, and there is some logic in that. Only we should remember that in the morning our metabolism is on its highest setting, so coffee or green tea isn't absolutely necessary.
This also applies to lemon water, or anything acidic that might end up in your stomach as the fist item.
So make sure you only drink green tea in the morning if you've got a breakfast to go with it, or at least a little healthy snack.
Don't drink green tea less than 2 hours before bedtime
The caffeine in your green tea will not be helping you here. Or rather, it'll be doing its job just fine. But you'll find yourself laying in bed wide awake, at 11.37 PM like I was a few nights ago, wondering why I wasn't even tired. And I had to get up at 5 AM, no less.
So do yourself a favor and stay away from green tea in the evening, or before you need to go to bed.
Now, if you're going to have to stay up for some reason, then by all means take advantage of this drink.
But if you want a nice, hot tea to relax with before you go to bed, skip the green tea. In fact, skip any of the teas from the Camellia sinensis plant.
This means white tea, green tea, black tea, Oolong, Pu-erh, and others. Your best bet would be a nice, delicious rooibos, or a herbal tea. There's quite a difference between green tea and herbal tea, and for bed time I would recommend a herbal.
Also a small warning about any tea drunk before bed. Make sure you drink it 2 hours before bed, otherwise you'll be waking up to go to the bathroom about an hour after you fell asleep.
This is both because of the liquid of the tea, and because the caffeine acts as a diuretic.
A word on green tea, its taste, and alternatives
I'm not discouraging you from drinking green tea. Not at all, I think everyone should try it at least once. However I know green tea can have a very harsh taste for those who aren't used to it.
Of course, it will taste different on your second cup, if you reuse the tea leaves. The second cup is more delicate, and you can enjoy the taste better.
So if you've never had green tea, I recommend you grab a friend who likes tea, and give them the first cup, and keep the second for yourself.
Or, you can always ease yourself into green tea with a fruity green tea, or one blended with a few flowers, so the taste is easier to deal with at first.
Whichever way you start your journey into green tea, please remember that if you're not comfortable with it, there are other ways to get the health benefits.
Aside from Matcha, which would be the closest thing to munching on the actual tea plant, there a couple of other teas. Black tea for example has slightly different health benefits, but its taste is much easier on newcomers to tea.
You can transition from black tea to green tea after you're comfortable with the black first.
Or, you could try white tea as an alternative, since the taste is much more delicate. The caffeine content is higher, but not all the antioxidants are present. This is because the leaves used for white tea haven't had the time to fully mature, but they have the caffeine as a defense mechanism.
I hope you got what you were looking for in this article. Green tea can be a great help when it comes to health and keeping your body in top shape.
But you're going to have to put in some work too, otherwise the tea will be wasted. And make sure you get quality, loose leaf green tea when you brew yours. This way you can be sure you get all the nutrients you need from the tea.
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