Good Medicine Everyday: Green Tea / by emily penn


I never really got into green tea until I quit drinking coffee. I decided to quit coffee because I was drinking a lot of it, and even though I wasn’t experiencing any negative health effects I knew all that caffeine was a strain on my nervous system and adrenals. So I quit preventatively.

As a die-hard lifelong coffee lover, never ever did I think I would get SO into tea. But here we are. Honestly - loose leaf tea is a game changer. If you’re not impressed with tea and you’ve just been using bagged teas - try loose leaf.

Now I can’t get enough of the flavor of green tea! It’s earthy, grassy and totally delightful. There’s lots of different kinds. Jasmine and Genmaicha are my two absolute favorite. Jasmine has a slightly floral quality to it that is so lovely. Genmaicha has toasted rice in it, which gives it a nice toasty depth. That’s another cool thing - there are so many varieties of green tea - you’re sure to find something that you love!

So the idea of green tea being good for you is pretty widespread, even in conventional media sources. A lot of people associate it with boosting the metabolism. But green tea offers so much more than that. Let’s take a look (1):

  • The main health promoting quality of green tea is that it contains lots of polyphenols (beneficial plant compounds), including a catechin (an antioxidant) called EGCG. These compounds fight inflammation, prevent aging and protect cells from damage.

  • The caffeine content in green tea is enough to give your brain a boost by improving the firing of neurons, but not so much as to give you the jitters that can come with coffee. Additionally, green tea contains a compound known as L-theanine, an amino acid that has anti-anxiety effects, increases dopamine (feel-good neurotransmitter), and increase alpha brain waves. Together, L-theanine and caffeine improve brain function, increase concentration and give you a calm yet alert feeling.

  • The catechins protect your brain, making green tea protective against Alzheimers and Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, making it protective against Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Supports longevity through reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

  • Green tea kills bacteria, which makes it great for dental health. It can also help protect against viruses like the flu, so add it to your immunity regimen.

  • And yes, it does give you a metabolic boost and increases fat burning, meaning it can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Pretty impressive for a little green leaf, right?! And there are so many different varieties to be enjoyed, I’m sure you can find one that you love. You may have heard of matcha, which is ground up whole tea leaves. You dissolve the powder in warm water and sip on its own, but many like to add some type of milk to make a matcha latte. Because you’re consuming the whole tea leaf (vs. just steeping the tea leaf) you’re actually getting a much higher concentration of all those antioxidants and therefore, all the health benefits.