Green, black and oolong tea are produced from the same plant Cameliia sinensis but their taste, constituents and colour vary depending on the way the leaves are processed. Green tea is considered to have the highest polyphenol and therapeutic effects because it remains unoxidised during processing, where-as the other tea leaves are oxidised.
There are lots of different kinds of green tea depending on growing and harvesting methods. Our favourite green tea is a Japanese tea called Genmaicha “brown rice tea” which consists of green tea mixed with roasted popped brown rice. The sugar and starch from the rice cause the tea to have a warm, full, nutty flavour. It is considered easy to drink and can soothe an upset stomach. Other popular options include the Japanese varieties of Sencha and Jasmine (which has a green tea base but is often mixed with white and black tea).
Green tea has consistently shown strong antioxidant activity and has antibacterial activity. The phytonutrients in green tea also inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines and improve tendon healing and inhibit cartilage and collagen degradation in athletes. Green tea is an excellent substitute for coffee drinkers. Although the average cup of pure green tea usually contains around 25 milligrams of caffeine, this is considered to be a low amount of caffeine when compared to around 100-180 milligrams in a typical coffee.
So often athletes get a false sense of energy when they are pumped full of caffeine. Over the long term, this can set them up for adrenal fatigue, over training issues, nutrient depletion, dehydration and chronic injuries. Green tea provides a great “pick me up” without flogging the adrenal glands.
To further reduce your daily caffeine load, and to avoid sleepless nights, you may like to consider these tips when consuming green tea:
TOP TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN CONSUMING GREEN TEA
- Avoid consuming green tea or other caffeine containing foods or beverages after lunchtime
- Opt for low caffeine green tea or other herbal teas like Rooibos tea.
- Drink green tea blends. A blended green tea, such as a 50-50 blend of lemongrass and green tea or mint and green tea, usually contains about half the caffeine of its unblended counterpart.
- Brew green tea correctly. Many people use boiling water to brew green tea or brew green tea for more than three minutes. This increases the level of caffeine in your cup. Instead, brew with simmering water for one-and-a-half minutes to three minutes.
- Reuse the original tea leaves for additional cups of tea that will taste the same but contain less caffeine.
- Drink whole-leaf green tea instead of green tea bags. Teabags have more caffeine than loose-leaf tea (usually).
- Avoid powdered teas high in caffeine. Matcha is one tea to avoid if you are trying to reduce caffeine as it is usually comes in a concentrated form and is made from powdered green leaves instead of an infusion of the leaf. Therefore, Matcha has much higher levels of caffeine than other green teas.