The Timeless Benefits of Green Tea

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine? 

Green Tea

With its origins dating back thousands of years, green tea has proven its utility (and desirability) across several centuries and cultures, making it clear that it’s not just a passing dietary trend. It’s here to stay and its benefits are practically overflowing from the very mug it’s been steeping in. Aside from its delicious flavor and versatility as a hot or iced beverage, green tea also contains caffeine. 

Just how much caffeine does one cup hold, and how does it match up against your other favorite caffeinated pick-me-ups? 

In this blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at how much caffeine is in green tea and how to incorporate it into your daily routine. Keep your kettle close—you’ll be ready for a cup soon after we’re through. 

The Rise of Green Tea

Extracted from the same plant as black and oolong tea, green tea is a beverage that has existed for centuries but has continued to grow in popularity in recent years in the United States. Aside from the simple pleasure of warming up with a cup of hot tea on a cool day, Americans are finding value in the regular consumption of green tea for its numerous health benefits or for a mid-morning boost of caffeine. 

An article from The Washington Post reported that more and more Americans have been choosing green tea over other types of tea with green tea experiencing a 40% increase in consumption from 2000 to 2014 alone. Whether it’s becoming a preferred alternative to coffee or a dietary supplement used to help with weight loss, it now accounts for about 15% of the total tea consumption each year.

How Much Caffeine is in Green Tea?

Because it’s derived from Camellia sinensis, a plant naturally containing caffeine, green tea is a popular beverage to help with waking up in the morning or to get a bit of energy when fatigued. 

Just how much caffeine is in green tea? 

You can expect to find about 20-50mg of caffeine per eight-ounce cup. That’s less than half the average amount of caffeine found in brewed coffee (102-200mg) which means that drinking more of it isn’t likely to cause the same kind of jitters and jolts. 

Here’s a look at the average caffeine levels in other beverages:

  • Black tea contains around 47mg of caffeine (per eight-ounce cup)
  • Instant coffee contains about 30-90mg of caffeine (per eight-ounce cup) 
  • A single shot of espresso contains 63mg of caffeine  

What else is different about the type of energy boost provided by green tea? An ingredient called L-theanine. When it works in conjunction with caffeine, this amino acid not only helps to increase alertness*, but also produces a gentler buzz than coffee or an espresso drink would. 

What Causes Caffeine Levels in Green Tea to Change? 

While 30-50mg is an estimation of how much caffeine is found in most eight-ounce cups of green tea, this amount may change depending on how it’s steeped. 

Here’s a look at what alters caffeine levels in green tea:

  • The amount of time the tea has been steeped. How long to steep green tea depends on the caffeine content you prefer. The longer it steeps, the higher the caffeine content will be. 
  • The ratio of green tea leaves to water. Tea bags come pre-packaged with a fixed amount of leaves per bag. Doubling up on tea bags will, of course, double the amount of caffeine. Loose-leaf tea, on the other hand, may be steeped in varying quantities which will cause caffeine levels to go up or down depending on how much is used. 
  • The temperature of the water used to steep the tea. The hotter the water, the faster the caffeine will be released into the tea. 

Should You Drink Green Tea? 

Whether you’re a tea lover who’s looking to try something new or a coffee-drinker interested in swapping out your afternoon latte for a different source of caffeine, green tea may be the answer. While it may not be right for everyone, it’s been getting a reputation not only for its refreshing natural flavor but also for its many health-promoting properties. 

Is green tea good for you? Here’s a look at some of the benefits of drinking green tea: 

  • It may help with weight loss. *
  • Most green teas contain very few calories. *
  • It may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.*
  • According to the American Heart Association, it’s been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.*

If you’re not sure if green tea is suitable for you, here’s an overview of when and why it may be better to avoid it (please consult your physician if you have any concerns):

  • If you’ve already had 400mg of caffeine in one day. According to Mayo Clinic, this is the maximum daily amount of caffeine recommended for average, healthy adults. Save the green tea for another day if you’ve already reached the suggested limit. 
  • If you have or are at a high risk of having osteoporosis. Green tea leads to lower calcium levels in some individuals. So, a cup a day is likely harmless but it should be avoided in large quantities. 
  • If you’re prone to anemia or iron deficiency. Green tea’s antioxidants may decrease your body’s ability to absorb iron or folic acid and, therefore, could have adverse side effects when consumed in excess. 
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping or are particularly sensitive to caffeine. Some people may experience an upset stomach if they’re unfamiliar with how the caffeine in green tea affects their bodies. And despite its lower caffeine content, limiting the intake of any kind of caffeinated beverage may be the right choice for those struggling with sleep. 

When it comes to green tea, the benefits seem to far outweigh the risks. But if drinking tea is not your thing, have a look next at how else it can be used to have a positive impact on your body. 

Other Ways Green Tea is Used 

If you’ve ever bought an acne-fighting facial cleanser, you may have noticed green tea extract listed as one of the ingredients on the label. That’s because, aside from drinking green tea, it can be incorporated into your daily routine in a number of other ways too. 

Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness, it’s no wonder it’s being used in all sorts of hair and skin products. Here are a few ways green tea can be used for something other than drinking:

  • Reducing under-eye puffiness – Sometimes it can seem like you wake up to puffy eyes no matter how much you sleep. If you’ve exhausted all other options like serums, patches, or eye-rollers, give green tea a try. The tannins, antioxidants, and caffeine present in green tea could help to lighten dark circles and reduce swelling on mornings when you could use a little help looking and feeling more awake. Just apply cool tea bags for five to ten minutes and watch them work their magic. 
  • Hydrating dry, chapped lips – The burning and cracking of dry lips can be an annoying ailment, particularly in the winter months. If you’re looking for a natural remedy that soothes redness and replaces moistures, green tea is back to save the day yet again. After steeping a tea bag in hot water, apply it while it’s still slightly warm to the affected area. Leave it on for just a few minutes to immediately feel a sense of cooling hydration and relief from soreness. 
  • Treating sunburns or rashes – If you forgot to reapply SPF at the beach or have been aggravated by an itchy patch of skin after a weekend spent camping in the woods, green tea could be the cure-all for sunburns and rashes too. The secret ingredient in this multipurpose tea that alleviates the itch and burn of various skin afflictions? Tannic acid. After steeping a cup of green tea, let it cool, and apply directly to your skin with a cloth or a cotton ball. 
  • Using it as a hair or face mask – If you’re spending a Friday night in and are in the mood to show your skin and hair some extra love, invite a few friends over for a night of movies and DIY masks. Green tea contains a mix of flavonoids, polyphenols, and antioxidants which are safe and effective for use on your scalp and face. The benefits? Deep conditioning and smoothing for dry hair in need of hydration and an even-toned glow for your skin. 

Whether you’re looking to kick your coffee addiction or to experiment with some at-home remedies, green tea’s caffeine and other power-packed ingredients just might be the answer you’ve been looking for. 

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