In the world of nutrition, green tea has made quite the name for itself. This tasty, simple drink has been proven to reduce the risk of chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Many of these benefits come from its high level of antioxidants, with epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) taking most of the credit.1 It seems like green tea can do no wrong.
Yet, like all tea, green tea contains some caffeine. If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine or are particularly sensitive, learning more about green tea is a smart idea.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound. You can find it in coffee beans, cacao beans, guarana berries, kola nuts, and tea leaves. There are many products that have caffeine, but tea and coffee are at the top of the list.2
In the body, caffeine interferes with adenosine, a neurotransmitter that builds up over the day. It’s the reason why you’re drowsy and sleepy by nighttime! However, caffeine stops this effect by blocking adenosine receptors.3
You can get addicted to caffeine. If so, you’ll need a higher intake to feel more awake. Others may feel the effects after drinking just a small amount.
Does Caffeine Have Any Benefits?
In moderation, caffeine can provide useful perks for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Boosts Energy
The energizing effect of caffeine might very well be its claim to fame. In fact, it’s the main reason why drinks like tea and coffee are morning favorites. If you didn’t get much sleep the night before, caffeine can perk you right up.
2. Increases Focus
When you’re faced with a long to-do list, caffeine will save the day. Human studies have shown that it supports cognitive function, even after a night of poor sleep. Attention, reaction time, and overall thinking can all improve thanks to caffeine.4
3. Relieves Headaches
Lack of rest, stress, or tension can all cause headaches. To remedy the pain, drink green tea. The adenosine receptors also play a role in pain relief.5 For particularly bad headaches, take it with ibuprofen.6
4. Enhances Fat Breakdown
Caffeine may aid weight loss by increasing thermogenesis, the process of generating body heat. As a result, calories are burned and fat is broken down! A 2017 study also found that caffeine may reduce energy intake by suppressing appetite.7
Of course, the same can’t be said for sugary caffeinated beverages. When drinking green tea, be mindful of sugar and cream, or don’t use any at all.8
Dosage Is Everything
At low doses of 100 to 200 milligrams a day, you can enjoy these benefits. As for anything higher? The outcome may not be as pleasant.
Possible symptoms of drinking too much caffeine include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Acid reflux
- High blood pressure
Excessively high amounts may inhibit calcium absorption, a major risk factor of osteoporosis.9
How Much Caffeine Does Green Tea Have?
Here’s the good news. Green tea isn’t the highest source of caffeine, so don’t be too wary.
On average, one cup of green tea has 35 grams.10 Older leaves, which are higher in antioxidants, have less caffeine than younger leaves.11 Steeping tea for a long time or using hotter water will also increase how much caffeine is released.12
Green Tea Compared To Other Drinks
Depending on the type of tea, one cup can have anywhere from 14 to 60 milligrams. Green tea comes in at about 35 milligrams. Here’s how it stacks up against other caffeinated foods:
- Coffee: 100 milligrams per cup
- Chocolate: 45 milligrams per 1.5 ounces
- Caffeinated Cola: 45 milligrams per 12 ounces
- Energy Drinks: 40 to 100 milligrams 13
Green tea makes for a healthy and nutritious pick-me-up. It’s delicious hot or cold, especially when used in smoothies or ice pops. Add berries or lemon for even more flavor.
|↑1||Chacko, Sabu M., Priya T. Thambi, Ramadasan Kuttan, and Ikuo Nishigaki. “Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review.” Chinese medicine 5, no. 1 (2010): 13.|
|↑2, ↑8, ↑10||Heckman, Melanie A., Jorge Weil, De Mejia, and Elvira Gonzalez. “Caffeine (1, 3, 7‐trimethylxanthine) in foods: a comprehensive review on consumption, functionality, safety, and regulatory matters.” Journal of food science 75, no. 3 (2010).|
|↑3||Dunwiddie, Thomas V., and Susan A. Masino. “The role and regulation of adenosine in the central nervous system.” Annual review of neuroscience 24, no. 1 (2001): 31-55.|
|↑4||Crawford, Cindy, Lynn Teo, Lynn Lafferty, Angela Drake, John J. Bingham, Matthew D. Gallon, Meghan L. O’Connell, Holly K. Chittum, Sonya M. Arzola, and Kevin Berry. “Caffeine to optimize cognitive function for military mission-readiness: a systematic review and recommendations for the field.” Nutrition Reviews 75, no. suppl_2 (2017): 17-35.|
|↑5||Baratloo, Alireza, Alaleh Rouhipour, Mohammad Mehdi Forouzanfar, Saeed Safari, Marzieh Amiri, and Ahmed Negida. “The role of caffeine in pain management: A brief literature review.” Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine 6, no. 3 (2016).|
|↑6||Diamond, Seymour, Timothy K. Balm, and Frederick G. Freitag. “Ibuprofen plus caffeine in the treatment of tension‐type headache.” Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 68, no. 3 (2000): 312-319.|
|↑7||Harpaz, Eynav, Snait Tamir, Ayelet Weinstein, and Yitzhak Weinstein. “The effect of caffeine on energy balance.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 28, no. 1 (2017): 1-10.|
|↑9, ↑13||Caffeine in the diet. MedlinePlus.|
|↑11||Lin, Yung-Sheng, Yao-Jen Tsai, Jyh-Shyan Tsay, and Jen-Kun Lin. “Factors affecting the levels of tea polyphenols and caffeine in tea leaves.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 51, no. 7 (2003): 1864-1873.|
|↑12||Yang, Deng-Jye, Lucy Sun Hwang, and Jau-Tien Lin. “Effects of different steeping methods and storage on caffeine, catechins and gallic acid in bag tea infusions.” Journal of Chromatography A 1156, no. 1 (2007): 312-320.|