THE CASE FOR GREEN TEA
Overview Of Caffeine’s Effects On The Body
I am not a coffee drinker. Millions of people are and probably feel they can only get by with at least one cup first thing in the morning. That is to say, without their morning coffee, they might struggle to wake up or even make it through the day!
But while dependency on coffee, and the big dose of caffeine that it provides, is a somewhat worrying thing for me, I have valid concerns as well. According to a report on Caffeine by Medlineplus.gov/caffeine:
- An 8-ounce cup of coffee has 95 to 200 mg
- An 8-ounce cup of tea has 14 to 60 mg
The report states that Caffeine has many effects on your body’s metabolism. Accordingly, it does the following:
- Stimulates your central nervous system, which can make you feel more awake and give you a boost of energy.
- Is a diuretic, meaning that it helps your body get rid of extra salt and water by urinating more.
- Increases the release of acid in your stomach, sometimes leading to an upset stomach or heartburn.
- May interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body.
- Increases your blood pressure.
Within one hour of eating or drinking caffeine, it reaches its peak level in your blood. You may continue to feel the effects of caffeine for four to six hours afterwards.
Consequences Of Excess Caffeine
According to the same aforementioned study, for most people, it is not harmful to consume up to 400mg of caffeine a day. However, if you do eat or drink too much caffeine, it can cause health problems, such as:
- Restlessness and shakiness
- Rapid or abnormal heart rhythm
- Dependency, so you need to take more of it to get the same results
The Problem With Energy Drinks
There’s limited data showing that energy drinks might temporarily improve alertness and physical endurance. There is not enough evidence to show that they enhance strength or power. But what has been discovered is that energy drinks can be dangerous because they have large amounts of caffeine. And since they have lots of sugar, they can contribute to weight gain and cause a diabetic’s condition to become even worse.
It has been found that many young people mix their energy drinks with alcohol. It is dangerous to combine alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine can interfere with your ability to recognize how drunk you are, which can lead you to drink more. This also makes you more likely to make bad decisions.
Some years ago, my brother Chris was at a party that involved quite a bit of the imbibing of alcoholic beverages. As a presumed antidote to intoxication so that he could drive home safely, he downed an energy drink. The resultant effect of this maneuver was a massive increase in the rate of his heartbeat. An immediate trip to the ER at a nearby hospital provided him with medication that calmed his heart down, but since then, he has been taking a drug to help regulate his heartbeat and prevent a relapse.
Green Tea As An Alternative
Not all hot beverages are have those issues. I found that switching out morning coffee for a healthier alternative might be one of the very best things I can do. Something to give me a major health boost that will help me wake up and feel healthier while also giving me a lot of other benefits that I don’t get from the coffee I don’t drink. In this article, I will look at the amazing benefits of Green Tea and what the best way might be to get those specific benefits in each case.
Caffeine in moderation seems to have a lot of benefits. For starters, medical reports show that caffeine may actually protect against Alzheimer’s and slow down age-related cognitive issues decline. It is an antioxidant and can be effective at stimulating the mind and body in order to help wake me up so that I get more done.
For all these reasons, caffeine might help me perform better in the short term, and for the long term, the potential side effects are very minimal when taken in moderation. Green Tea, as opposed to otherwise essentially nutritionless coffee, is a reasonably good source of caffeine, so this can be a good way to get my morning boost
Caffeine Deficient Substitutes
That said, there are varieties of Green Tea substitutes such as Rooibos that contain no caffeine at all. Why might this be a good thing?
One reason is that a lot of people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Some find that caffeine makes them jittery and anxious and that it can cause heart palpitations, dizziness, sickness and a variety of other issues.
Another reason is that caffeine can be addictive and this means that it can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. In fact, morning grogginess might actually be caused by withdrawal from not having consumed caffeine during the night!
L-Theanine: The Alternative Stimulant
The great thing about drinking various forms of Green Tea, is that they contain a host of other brain boosting ingredients. One of those is a substance called L-Theanine.
L-Theanine is an Xanthine like caffeine, and one that has the opposite effect in many ways – helping us to feel calmer and less anxious. This occurs in natural balance with caffeine in many Green Teas. These attributes can provide you with increased focus and energy, but without the jitters, headaches or other related problems. It has often been described as the ‘calm focus’ factor.
Even more exciting is the fact that many other Xanthines are also present in a lot of Green Teas, providing us with a natural combination that can make us significantly more alert as well as more focused.
Xanthines are essentially is a purinebase found in most human body tissues and fluids, as well as in other organisms. Several stimulants are derived from Xanthines, including caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthine)
Polyphenols are a category of compounds naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. They can act as antioxidants, meaning they can neutralize harmful free radicals that would otherwise damage your cells and increase your risk of incurring devastating conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Polyphenols are also thought to reduce inflammation, which is presumed to be the root cause of many chronic illnesses. (healthline.com/nutrition/polyphenols).
Green Tea contains polyphenols, which include flavanols, flavandiols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids; these compounds may account for up to 30% of the dry weight. Most of the Green Tea polyphenols (GTPs) are flavonols, commonly known as Catechins. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Apr 6, 2010).
Not only are polyphenols important antioxidants that can further help to protect the cells, but they are also very effective nutrients that provide a lot of additional roles in the body. They are anti-inflammatory, which means they help reduce inflammation that might result in pain. They can even effectively reduce inflammation in the brain from pro-inflammatory cytokines that may cause brain fog for many individuals subject to such maladies.
What About Catechins
Catechins are a form of Polyphenols found in Green Tea that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are made during normal cell metabolism (chemical changes that take place in a cell). They can build up in cells and cause damage to other molecules. This damage may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Catechins are being studied by researchers seeking the prevention and treatment of cancer. A Catechin is a type of antioxidant.
Catechins are just one of the ingredients in Green Tea that make it such a popular health food. One in particular – epigallocatechin gallate – has been subject to many studies and is thought to be beneficial in treating a wide number of different diseases. (cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/catechin)
China and Japan have used Green Tea as a medicine for many years. The tea is made from the steamed, unfermented leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is also called Chinese Tea. The substance in Green Tea that researchers think is most helpful is, in fact, a Catechin. It is called Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). It also contains Caffeine and Theanine. (cancerresearchuk.org/cancer)
Cancer preventive activities of Green Tea and its main constituent, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) have been extensively studied by scientists all over the world. Extensive studies have shown that Green Tea is a cancer preventive for primary cancer prevention, and green tea Catechins act as a synergist with anticancer drugs in tertiary cancer prevention. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
Green Tea is commonly used for fat loss and, in fact, if you look at any fat burning supplement and flip it over to check the ingredients, you will almost always find that it contains some form of Green Tea. This is partly for the caffeine content but also for the fact that green tea seems to boost the metabolism in other ways too. Perhaps it does so through the Catechins and flavanols. Green Tea has been shown to increase fat oxidation by as much as 17% in those who drink green tea on a regular basis.
No Calorie Attribute
Green Tea has zero calories. That is an important attribute when you consider that all of the health benefits that are contained therein. An additional benefit is that, unlike coffee or black tea, you tend to drink it without milk, a dairy-based flavoring which introduces calories into the mix.
In fact, if you want to get the very most from your Green Tea, then it is advisable to drink it without the milk or cream you might put in coffee or regular black tea. It has been shown that milk might actually reduce some of the benefits you get from the antioxidants.
Reduced Risk of Stroke
In certain studies, Green Tea has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, at least partly by improving cholesterol levels and therefore blood pressure readings as well. As it happens, these benefits can also help to reduce the risk of stroke.
Drinking Green Tea was shown in one study to reduce the risk of stroke by 42% in women and by 35% in men. This is another very common and very serious health risk and yet another powerful benefit of the beverage!
Green Tea is antibacterial. This means that it can be effective in reducing risk of infection. What’s more, it might be able to support the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut, thereby helping with digestion and general gut function.
Streptococcus Mutans is the most harmful bacteria found in the mouth and is responsible for plaque formation, cavities and tooth decay. The great news then, is that green tea can actually inhibit the growth of this unwanted invader making it especially useful for combating gum disease, poor tooth health and even halitosis (bad breath).
Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Another unwanted health risk that can be minimized by Green Tea is cardiovascular disease. It can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems by increasing the antioxidant capability of the blood, thereby preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. What’s more, Green Tea can also help to make us calmer and more relaxed thanks to the L-Theanine content. When you combine these factors, it should come as no big surprise to see that green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 31% in certain studies.
This entire blog was inspired by research I did for help in curing a persistent cough I have been fighting for the past 3 weeks. I tried taking Mucinex cough lozenges, but all they did was give me partial minimal relief. So I went online and researched possible home based remedies.
One I found was mixing honey with hot water to make a sort of tea-like beverage. Through all this misery, I realized the main procedure that helped the most was keeping my throat hydrated with some type of beverage. This led me to the thought that mixing several tablespoonfuls of Honey into a soup-sized cup of Green Tea might help.
Fortunately, my wife informed me that we had 3 large boxes of Green Tea bags in our pantry thanks to acquisitions by my wife’s mother who lived with us before she passed away. So, taking advantage of this discovery, I gave my theory a shot.
I took a large ceramic cup infused with a handle that we use to heat soups in as opposed to a regular-sized coffee cup. Employing this oversized container to maximize my liquid intake, I filled it with filtered water from the refrigerator and added several tablespoonfuls of honey.
Then I heated the water with the automatic “beverage” setting on my microwave oven for 2 minutes. When done, I added a Green Tea bag to the hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. When ready, I drank the mixture slowly while leaving the tea bag in the cup to enhance the benefits of the Green Tea.
As of this writing, my coughing spasms have all but disappeared. I made another concoction for both my wife and myself the following morning. She really liked the taste as well as enjoying the accompanying benefits of the soothing properties that helped relieve her coughing spells as well.
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!