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We all know the benefits of green tea and how good it is for our health. But, have you ever thought that if consumed in excess quantity it can be very harmful. I myself love green tea a lot. I consume 3-4 cups (or rather mugs) full of freshly brewed green tea every day. But one day the word “caffeine” intrigued my mind and I did some research on the green tea contents and I was shocked. After all green tea is not 100% healthy, it contains caffeine, which can surprise and affect many tea drinkers deleteriously.
Though the caffeine content level is very low compared to coffee and other oxidized forms of tea. Apparently tea is the healthy alternative to coffee and alcohol, but who wants that. We all know the side-effects of caffeine and to avoid that people try to shift to health drinks, including green tea. Many experts recommend consuming no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. When compared to black teas, coffee and soft drinks, green tea has been found to provide a gentle and steady source of stimulation. With few reports of common caffeine side effects, such as nervousness or headaches. 100 ml of green tea contains 0.02 gm of caffeine compared to 0.06 gms in coffee (when prepared using 10 gms of quantity each).
But saying all the above things, I do not mean that green tea is bad for health and is carcinogenic. It is very healthy as it contains 4 times more antioxidants. What you have in one apple and no doubt much healthier than your coffee or regular tea. Please do not get discouraged and stop drinking it. It is just that by taking few precautions, you can make it even healthier to consume.
The younger the tea leaves, the more caffeine will be produced in the tea. The most prized part of green tea is the terminal bud and the adjacent two leaves, also called the tea flush. They are the sweetest, but also contain the most caffeine. So always try to use dry green tea leaves.
But, not to worry these caffeine levels can be reduced using simple techniques and keeping few points in mind:
- Avoid consuming first infusion: Caffeine content gets reduced with infusions. It is quicker to dissolve than the other tea contents. Research shows that upto 80% of caffeine content is released in the first infusion itself.
- First infusion must be of the longest time: Brew the green tea for the longest time in first infusion and let it steep for about 15-20 minutes at water boiling temperature. For second infusion brew the tea only for 5 minutes at max.
- Avoid using green tea bags – green tea bags contain a lot more caffeine. Try to buy loose green tea leaves. There are many brands available like Organic India, Tetley and you can find more at your local store.
- Always drink it hot – At low temperatures more caffeine is released. Drinking green tea at high temperature allows antioxidants to reduce the caffeine activity.
- Avoid artificial green tea drinks like the ones you get in the form of flavored iced tea.
- Do not go overboard – Minimize your daily consumption to 2-3 cups at maximum.
- Try not to drink green tea an hour before you are planning to go to bed.
Follow the points and enjoy your hot steaming cup of green tea without worrying too much about its side-effects.
P.S: I still enjoy my 3-4 cups of green tea every day, so do not lose your rigor and continue to consume this healthy drink. Till then stay fit!!
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