Green Tea Compared to Other Teas
Green Tea has been one of the world’s most popular beverages for a long time. Now Green Tea may be the second most popular beverage in the world, second to only water! This is crazy since it is not one of the more tasty teas. I enjoy Green Tea, but I see how it is an acquired taste. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of drinking Green Tea you can still get the benefits of Green Tea Extract.
Camellia Sinesis (tea plant)
Green tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same plant that makes the popular black tea. The difference is that Green Tea has not been oxidized, which means that the powerful antioxidant properties are fully intact.
Black Tea vs Dark Tea
You should not have the common misconception that black tea has been fermented. Fermentation is entirely different than oxidization and makes for a much different tea, commonly called “Dark Tea” in western cultures to distinguish it from black tea. Pu-erh is the most common fermented (Dark Tea) and comes from the Yunnan Province of China. Don’t confuse this with Kombucha tea which is a drink made by fermenting a liquid tea drink. Whereas, Dark Tea is made when the leaves are fermented before making the drink.
Other Types of Teas
There are many benefits of Black Tea, Dark Tea, and Kombucha tea, and these are not the only kinds of tea. There is also Yellow Tea, White Tea, and Oolong Tea. Here is a flowchart that shows the processing differences in how these teas are made. This flow chart doesn’t include Matcha Tea and Kombucha though.
Green Tea Matcha
Matcha is a particular kind of Green Tea that is made from only the leaves with no stems. Matcha is made by cutting the leaf pedals away from the stems and then grinding them into a fine powder. This powder is then dissolved into the water when making the tea. When trying to get all the nutritional value out of Green Tea, Matcha comes the closest; it is almost like eating the leaves. A more efficient way to get all the benefits of Green Tea is to take a Green Tea Extract Supplement.
Power of Green Tea – Benefits of Green Tea Extract
One of the powers of Green Tea lies in its Catechin Polyphenols, particularly the one known as EGCG which is short for Epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant. It is believed to inhibit the growth of tumors and kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
There are numerous scientific studies that have documented the benefits of Green Tea’s antioxidants and how little of these catechins you need to see these benefits.
EGCG has 25 to 100 times the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E. A cup of green tea has more antioxidants than many common fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant benefits that come from a single cup of Green Tea are higher than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries. (1)
Another widely acclaimed molecule in Green Tea is L-Theanine. This amino acid has many benefits itself and many of these you can notice right away. Some reason people take L-theanine is more energy, improve cognition, reduced stress, and reduced fatigue. (2)
The reason Green Tea has these powerful constituents and the other teas that come from Camellia Sinensis don’t is the processing method of the other teas break down these powerful molecules.
There is a way to process Green Tea to concentrate both EGCG and L-Theanine, i.e. EXTRACTION. Green Tea Extract is made by a method of processing Green Tea that uses alcohol to release the molecules of EGCG and L-Theanine. This concentration can greatly increase the levels of EGCG and L-Theanine and then the alcohol can be evaporated away. This is great for those of who don’t want to drink Green Tea every day to gain from taking it’s powerful EGCG and L-Theanine.
Benefits of Green Tea Extract
#1 – Aids in Weight Loss
There are many studies that show that EGCG can increase weight loss. There are double-blind studies that show how EGCG increased weight loss over people who did the same diet and exercise but took a placebo. I think that the more fascinating studies are the Anthropological studies of people who live in an area where drinking green tea daily is part of everyday life.
There are many claims to the method by which Green Tea and EGCG specifically help in losing weight. Some studies say it increases the rate at that the body burns calories.
Other believe that it slows down the release of carbohydrates in the body, preventing sharp rises in blood sugar.
The mechanism by which Green Tea helps people lose weight is debated but the fact that it does help in weight loss is agreed upon. (3)
#2 – Boost the Immune System
One well-known benefit of Antioxidants is that they boost the Immune System. This is why so many people take Vitamin C when they are sick or are trying not to get sick. Vitamin C is a powerful Antioxidant and EGCG in Green Tea is an even more powerful antioxidant.
Green Tea’s EGCG is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It is so powerful that many believe that Green Tea lowers the risk of cancer.
In 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking Green Tea may reduce the risk of esophageal cancer. (4) A more recent study published by BioMed Central concluded that Green Tea produces a protective effect against the development of cancer cells. (5)
EGCG is shown to be 100 times more effective as an antioxidant than Vitamin C and twice as powerful as resveratrol (the antioxidant in red wine). So next time you are trying to not catch a cold and you are thinking about taking some Vitamin C, maybe you should drink a little Green Tea too, or instead. Or If you don’t like drinking Green Tea you could get yourself some natural Green Tea Extract instead.
#3 – Lowers cholesterol
University of California scientists discovered that the caffeine in coffee is bound with coffee bean oils, which raise cholesterol levels. Don’t worry about coffee raising your cholesterol too much. Researchers believe increases in cholesterol are from the compound Cafestol in coffee, which is mostly removed when brewed through a paper filter. If you are using a french press or another method you may want to consider switching how you brew your coffee if cholesterol is a concern for you. (6)
Or in contrast, research indicates that drinking Green Tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improves the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol. So drinking Green Tea may even positively impact your cholesterol, especially if you switch one cup of coffee for Green Tea. (7)
#4 – Natural energy boost
Though there is no study that specifically states that Green Tea gives you more energy, it has caffeine in it so it has all of the benefits of energy from caffeine. There are double-blind studies that show people expended more energy daily when drinking Green Tea than a placebo. People who drink Green Tea use more energy is a pretty indication that they had more energy to use. (8)
Also, Green Tea has one of the highest amounts of natural L-Theanine as discussed earlier. L-Theanine is very popular as an energy and focuses supplement. L-Theanine and Caffeine are often marketed together for the synergistic effects of providing energy without the unpleasant effects of caffeine alone, such as jitters and restlessness.
#5 – Lowers the risk of blood clots
Green tea has been shown to be effective in preventing abnormal clotting of blood. This can be very important if you are at high risk for strokes or you are pregnant. There is actually quite a bit of research in this area. There are multiple methods or mechanisms that are believed to lead to this blood thinning ability. One word of caution in this area, if you are taking Warfarin, or another blood thinner you may want to stay away from drinking Green Tea. Defiantly consult your Physician before drinking a lot of Green Tea or taking a Green Tea Extract Supplement if you are on any kind of medication. (9)
#6 – Increase Fertility For Women
A study that is commonly quoted was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California Oakland. The researchers found that women who drank more than one-half a cup of green tea every day doubled their odds of conceiving. This can be a hard and sensitive subject. My wife and I have three children, all planned, and at one time we were struggling with the disappointment of not conceiving and having miscarriages. I can’t say that Green Tea is the thing that got us through these challenges because we didn’t know that it could have helped at the time. (10)
Many women stay away from caffeine altogether when they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. My wife did abstain from caffeine through all three of her pregnancies and throughout breastfeeding. I would have supported her either way, having caffeine or not. Green Tea is non-toxic and safe, especially in moderation.
From all the research I have looked through drinking between a half and two cups of Green Tea a day only had positive benefits. Green Tea has not been shown to cause birth defects or have an adverse effect on pregnancy or breastfeeding. But this is where the standard disclaimer needs to go “if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should check with your doctor” before you change any of your dietary habits.
#7- Increase Fertility For Men
Green Tea has been shown to increase the motility, viability, and phosphorylation of proteins controlling cell survival of sperm. Specifically, EGCG found in Green Tea has this benefit. This is a case where you can have too much of a good thing, and the positive effects went away or became negative when the EGCG concentration was too high. Though to get to these high levels you would need to drink a lot of Green Tea, or take more than the recommended dose of most Green Tea Extract Supplements. (11)
#8 – Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
Green Tea can kill the bacteria that cause plaque. Now I wouldn’t go crazy and start brushing my teeth with Green Tea or using Green Tea as a mouthwash.
When comparing Green Tea to other beverages that contain caffeine, like coffee and Black Tea, Green Tea has much fewer tannins that stain your teeth. Green Tea doesn’t contain the carbonation and sugar of sodas and energy drinks are also bad for your teeth. So if you are substituting Green Tea for one of these other caffeinated beverages you are differently doing your mouth a favor. (12)
#9 – Lower Anxiety
Another benefit of Green Tea that comes from the amino acid L-theanine is it can have an anti-anxiety effect. The mechanism from this is believed to be from the ability to increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). (13)
#10 – Make You Happier
I really believe that being happy is a choice. Don’t get me wrong it is not always an easy choice, depending on life’s circumstances. Green Tea might make that choice a little easier though, at least from a biochemical standpoint. Green Tea has been shown to increase Dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is known to play a central role in positive reinforcement and happiness. So the logical conclusion is that drinking Green Tea could actually lead to happiness. (14)
#11 – Protects Against Arthritis
The EGCG in Green Tea is also credited with reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage destruction. EGCG can block the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. (15)
#12 – Make You Smarter
Caffeine found in Green Tea is a stimulant and is widely studied and known to improve brain function, vigilance, reaction time, and memory. The L-theanine also found in Green Tea gives you a better feeling of alertness and less of what is known as the “jitters.” This has led to more people feeling more consistent energy and being more productive when drinking Green Tea over Coffee. (16)
#13 – Protect Your Brain as You Age
Green Tea may protect you from things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is not very well studied yet. There are multiple studies that the catechin compounds in Green Tea have a protective effect on neurons in test tubes and in animals. This does provide hope that these benefits may be found for people as well. (17)
How Can I Take Green Tea?
The benefits of Green Tea are the greatest if you take a Green Tea Extract supplement rather than drink Green Tea. The second best way to consume Green Tea is likely in Matcha form since you are getting the most out of the leaves. A significant benefit of taking a Green Tea Supplement is you know to a better extent how much caffeine or EGCG you are getting. Most Supplements will either tell you the amount of caffeine or EGCG in the Extract.
Choose Your Supplement by Your Desired Benefits
When looking for a Green Tea Supplement, you should know what benefits you want more.
If you want energy, focus, and brain power, then look for a supplement that tells how much caffeine from Green Tea is in the extract.
If you want more antioxidants, to boost your immune system and help with managing weight loss; you need to take a Green Tea extract supplement that defines how much EGCG is in each capsule.