While Americans are mostly coffee drinkers, worldwide there are three cups of tea drunk for every one of coffee. (1) There are some definite health reasons to consider drinking green tea, which may just be the healthiest drink of all!
Green Tea vs Black Tea
Most tea consumed world wide is black tea. In the US 85% of all tea drunk is black. (2) But compared to green tea it has a few strikes against it.
Green Tea and the Mind
The effects of tea on the mind have been understood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
– Japanese Proverb
” Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind; dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness.”
– Lu Yu “The Sage of Tea”
“Tea. The drink that cheers, but does not inebriate”.
– Elsie, British mother-in-law
Green tea offers so many benefits for your brain it could be considered a brain tonic. Here are 6 ways it can help your brain:
- Green tea contains polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants improve mood and protect against Parkinson’s and other brain disorders.
- Polyphenols help regulate blood sugar levels, keeping your brain running smoothly on a steady supply of glucose.
- Tannins found in green tea may prevent the brain damage that occurs after strokes and other brain injuries.
- Green tea protects your brain by improving the flexibility of blood vessels, allowing more blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen to reach your brain.
- Green tea has a protective compound that increases levels of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. It has also been found to prevent plaque buildup in the brain, which is suspected of contributing to Alzheimer’s.
- Green tea is a good source of l-theanine, an amino acid that creates theta brain waves and puts you in the same brain state as meditation. It also releases neurotransmitters that can improve memory recall, learning, and positive mood.
Findings show that you should drink at least 2 cups per day, or its equivalent in supplements to receive any substantial benefits.
Green Tea Health Effects
The health benefits of green tea are legendary. According to the University of Maryland’s Alternative and Complementary Medicine Guide (5) it’s been shown to have a positive impact on the followings:
- Dental health
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Liver Disease
- Osteoporis (6)
- Weight loss (7)
- Physical performance (8)
Hot or Cold?
Most green tea is prepared with hot water and consumed hot.
I live in a year-round warm climate and prefer to drink tea cold. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn that cold brewed tea delivers more health benefits than hot brewed, since none of the beneficial antioxidants are destroyed by heat. (9)
Through trial and error I’ve perfected my cold brew technique so that it’s never too weak or too bitter. And it couldn’t be easier!
>>>You’ll find the Perfect Cold Brew Green Tea Recipe here.<<<
Does Brand Matter?
You can spend a little or a lot on green tea.
If you are buying pre-made green tea in a bottle you almost certainly are spending a lot per serving and getting very little health benefits in return.
One good way to determine the quality of your green tea is by it’s level of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a potent antioxidant found only in green tea.
It’s no surprise that Diet Snapple Green Tea contains almost no EGCG, but it’s disappointing that Honest Tea Green Tea contained only about 60% of the catechins claimed on the label. (10)
According to one consumer study Lipton Green Tea was the least expensive way to get EGCG due to its low cost (10 cents per bag) and relatively high level of EGCG (71 mg per bag). The most expensive was Teavana Green Tea Gyokuro at 94 cents per serving, despite its high level of EGCG (86 mg). (11)
Tea from Japan is generally considered better than tea from China where industrial pollution is a big problem.
What brands of green tea have you found that meet your quality standards? I’d love to get a conversation going about this!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. She teaches the best ways to stay mentally sharp for life at her website BeBrainFit.com.
Brain fog, “senior moments”, and fuzzy thinking are signs your brain is not working as well as it should. Discover how to nourish your brain and optimize your brainpower — sign up for her email series 21 Days to a Brighter Brain here.