Health benefits of green tea--Experiences? How much do you take?

Recently my gym introduced the “Final Flush”…a broadside of health and fitness info that they post over the urinals and in the stalls. Recently it carried an article about green tea and how beneficial it is–helping the immune system, possibly fighting the signs of aging, helpful to the heart and arteries, and increasing the metabolism of fat. Wow. It sounds to good to be true, but a cursory search at WebMD seems to support much of it.

But how much green tea do I need to take? I’m already an inveterate coffee drinker and don’t want to give that up. If I have to drink four cups of green tea daily, then that’s going to seriously cut into my caffeine quota. Has anyone else tried green tea for its health benefits, and what were your experiences?

I take a lot of green tea, partly 'cause I like it (but I had to develop a taste for it) and partly for the numerous health benefits.

In the morning I take some green tea extract for a caffeine bump. Back in my dieting days, I used to take ephedra/caffeine combos. The green tea extract is much milder but still jolts me awake.

I also drink four to six cups of green tea during the day. Green tea has 30 mgs per 8 oz cup as compared to coffee’s 100 mg. So you could drop a cup or two of coffee and add four cups of green tea and get about the same amount of caffeine.

As far as immediate health benefits, I don’t think you’ll really notice anything. Most of the health benefits seem to culmultive. But that’s the same for most healthy things, you jsut have to take it on faith (backed by research) that what you’re doing now will make a difference in the long run.

Good to hear from you Tremorviolet, I know you take your fitness seriously. :slight_smile:

Brace yourself though, my gf doesn’t call it ‘fish tea’ for no reason!
Saying that, one of the people I work with, a diabetic, swears by it now.

There’s some question as to the exact health effects of coffee, but green tea is basically the bee’s knees. Based on what we know right now, it’d be better for you in the long run to switch from drinking coffee to drinking green tea.

I switched from coffee to green tea a while back and lost eight pounds.

No other lifestyle changes, no changes in diet, amount of exercise, etc.

Eight pounds just went away, never to return.

Also, if you’re a total caffiene addict, green tea won’t give you that morning kick-start, but it does have enough of the stuff to keep you from having withdrawal symptoms (and with a really heavy coffee habit, you can have some pretty nasty withdrawals- I speak from experience). If you really need the caffeine, you could probably just brew the tea really strong.

Well, I’ve cut back on the coffee and am drinking two cups of green tea a day. We’ll see how that works for awhile.

Oddly, I find it more than enough to get me started during the day, and I don’t start drinking coffee – my marvellous premium varietal Diedrich’s coffee–until I get to the office, after my workout. It’s a good way to start the workday.

Then I have another green tea later on.

Anyway, so far, so good!

I drink a lot of it. The taste is acquired, however, and I find honey to be the best sweetener for it that doesn’t overpower the tea flavor. i.e. it still tastes like tea, but goes down easier.

Something I tried totally at random once out of morning desparation when I was long overdue for a shopping trip to restock…add vanilla soy milk to your tea as a sweetener, it is very good, and adds that english-style creaminess. It only works in green and black teas, however. It curdles into lumps when in herbal teas.

Still drinking the tea? Any followups?

Do we not gain the same benefits from Black Tea?


No, it appears not. Roasting green tea to make black tea seems to change it enough that much of the health benefits are lost. The obvious one, the antioxidant properties, disappear because fermentation oxidizes the leaf. I haven’t found any claims that black tea is usefull for blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism, cancer prevention, tumor reduction, lowering cholesterol, etc.

To brew green tea that actually tastes good, make sure you boil your water and then let the water cool for about 3 minutes before pouring it over your tea bag. Let it sit covered for only 3 minutes (more and it’ll get bitter). Remove the tea bag and squeeze the liquid into the cup.

I generally just add hot (not boiling) water to a cup with a tea bag and drink it witht he tea bag still in the cup. I use really good tea and it doesn’t get really bitter. I get three cups out of one tea bag; of course, the tea get progressively weaker but it’s still good. I did have to “aquire” the taste tho’…

I’ve been drinking green tea for around two years. Truthfully, I can’t really tell if there are any health benefits. I already had excellent blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. But I enjoy it and I’m hoping it’ll make me healthier overall in the long run.

Oh, and wanted to add, I hope we hear from Spectre or any others about observable health benefits. Anyone see any changes in blood pressure or cholesterol for some anecdotal evidence?

A great way to get used to the taste is to start with a 75/25 blend of black/green tea, and work from there. I always add green tea bags to my iced tea jug when i make sun tea, and it adds a new note to the brew. Then you just adjust the ratios until you get one you like. All the health benefits, without the taste problems! :smiley:

I’ve been drinking it for about a year and lost 20 pounds. I put my mother on it, with two other herbal products and coconut oil to help bring her cholesterol down. I understand that’s not even a “controlled anecdote” but her total cholesterol came down from 360 ( :eek: ) to 220 in four months, and she lost almost 60 pounds in 8 months, no dieting.

A good friend of mine has diabetes, and she’s brought her insulin needs down by 75% in three months using green tea, red clover, licorice and gymnema.

Note: I AM a trained herbalist. Herbs can kill you.* Don’t use them if you’re stupid or underinformed.

*So can water.


Why dont you share some of your Herbalist wisdomw for us, the untrained masses. What do you recommend for lowering cholesterol? Red Rice Yeast?


I would, but as much as I like this board, things are not friendly here for the alterna-crowd. This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it, because I’m sorely afraid of being flammed to the ends of the universe.

Also, herbs are not a one-size fits everybody and every lifestyle thing. They don’t work simply, as many processed medications do. They most often work synergistically, meaning they do different things in different combinations and in different body types. They’re also processed and made into medicines in dozens of different ways, many of which affect the final product. (There are all parts of the problem in constructing valid double-blind placebo controlled studies on them.)

I won’t make blanket recomendations. It’s just not safe for me in today’s political climate, especially on a hostile board such as this. I’m sorry. :frowning:

I can recommend this site for finding a qualified herbalist in your area.

All tea is heated at some point. Black tea is laid out in trays and allowed to “wither,” or dry partially. Then it is rolled, which breaks cell walls within the leaf, allowing various substances to mingle, and then the tea leaves are allowed to “ferment,” which has nothing to do with yeast. The term us used to describe the process by which some of the substances in the tea oxidize and turn dark. The tea it is then fired or steamed, which halts the fermentation process. Green tea is steamed or fired immediately after it is picked, without fermentation.

Uh, this is better than the directions that the mentally deragned manufactures usually include with green tea bags (Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes => guaranteed undrinkable bitter tea!) However . . .

Green tea should be prepared with water between 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to get this right is to use a thermometer, as the time it takes for water to cool down from boiling will depend on the amount of water you have and the vessel it is in. And I’d say 2 minutes is a safer brewing time, but this depends on your tea and your personal taste.

Squeezing brewed leaves will release tannins, so unless one likes bitter tea, don’t do that! Those people who are convinced that you have to squeeze the bag to get your “money’s worth” out of the tea should take heart: As violet says, green tea can typically be infused at least twice.

As to health benefits, I’ll keep mum. I’ll keep drinking tea even if the announce that it gives you cancer and causes you to vote Republican. :wink:

Tannins are a good thing in moderation. They may be the key to the "French paradox". Tannins inhibit salivary amylase, which may alter carbohydrate digestion and cause less carb to fat conversion (actually, this is the one area where black tea is even better.) Tannins help reduce puffy eyelids and soothe minor cuts and scrapes.

But yes, they do make the tea more bitter. But that bitter taste merely triggers the gall bladder to release bile and help digestion, so it’s all good. :slight_smile:

If you like tannins in your green tea, far be it from me to tell you that you can’t wring out the leaves, but if really want to get yer tannins on, I recommend that you try a nice astringent Darjeeling, Assam, or Keemun. Tannins compliment the more complex flavors of these teas, whereas (IMHO) they ruin the delicate taste of a green.

It just saddens me to hear people say that they don’t like green tea, because properly made green tea is so mellow and subtle and truly a delight to the palate. I hate to think of all the people choking down bitter, ruined green tea, or worse, being turned off from green tea entirely, when, simply by changing the way they steep the tea, they could be having a truly enjoyable tea-drinking experience.