It has been a habit for some, as kids, to drink milk before going to bed. This is because milk is known to provide a lot of health benefits for you as a kid. However, as adults, the habit has probably petered out and milk was never that beneficial for us anymore.
What will probably help you bring the habit back again is the fact that consuming green tea before going to bed provides a lot of benefits as well. Some even dubbed it as a super food with all the nutritional value it packs.
Introduction to Green Tea
Before determining what are some of the health benefits of drinking green tea before bed, it is first important to know more about where green tea originated and how it was discovered to be very beneficial for your health.
Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis leaves. The same leaves are used to produce oolong and black tea. What differs green tea from the two is the process of withering and oxidation as the production of green tea does not go through this.
The said leaves and its plant originated in China. Eventually, it has spread to other countries in Asia. Now, green tea production is done worldwide in various parts of the world where the environment and temperature are habitable for the plant.
Green tea in itself provides different varieties as well. This happens because of the varieties of the plant and the leaves the tea comes from. Although all are Camellia sinensis, the distinction among the varieties happen depending on the growing conditions, horticultural methods, processing, and time of harvest.
Since the plant originated in China, this is also where it is first consumed as green tea. In fact, there exists a book written in the 600 AD about the history of green tea. Centuries after, another book was published now identifying the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of the said plant and tea.
Green Tea’s Nutritional Value
Many researchers have long been studying the nutritional components of the green tea. There is no wonder that the leaf the processed product is packed with a lot of nutritional value of great benefits. Here are just some of the well-known components of the green tea:
First, it is important to note that green tea is calorie free. This is of course taken without sugar or any kind of sweetener. Consuming it in huge amounts will not affect your calorie intake in any way. Some would even approve of consuming as much as eight cups of the tea a day.
The reason behind this is when you prepare green tea, of course with water at any temperature you like, a cup of it consists mainly of water. To be exact, a cup of prepared green tea is 99.5% made up of water. Thus, the hydration benefit of the water is still very much effective even with the added component.
Green tea is composed of various antioxidants and alkaloids. It also contains numerous vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H, K, Manganese, Zinc, Chromium, and Selenium. These are known to provide the body different health benefits.
However, perhaps the most important and unique component of green tea that differentiates it with others is the presence of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This is a form of antioxidant known to be so much more powerful than vitamins C or E. This certain component and its benefit will be discussed further later on.
Take note that green tea contains caffeine as well. But compared to coffee and carbonated drinks, the caffeine content it holds is very low that it does not affect the body as much as the others do anyway. Except when taken in huge amounts, of course.
Green tea also provides the body of different beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, tannin, theophylline. Years of research has proven the benefits of these in the body as well.
Green Tea vs. Other Teas
As mentioned, what sets green tea apart from the other teas is that it consists of a component commonly known as EGCG. This component is a very powerful antioxidant that it even surpasses the strength of vitamins C and E.
This is maintained by the tea because the processing only requires it to be steamed as opposed to black and oolong teas where they need to be fermented as well. The process of fermentation gets rid of this very powerful component turning them into other chemicals that are beneficial as well, however, making it only available in green tea.
The process of producing green tea is less laborious compared to other types of tea the plant produces. With that said, green tea’s flavor is still very raw and almost close to its natural state. Some would say that it tastes more of a plant than a tea.
Green tea, as mentioned, also contains caffeine. But this is a very small amount. To give you a comparison, a cup of black tea may contain around 40 mg of caffeine while a cup of green tea will only contain half as much, around 20 mg. Caffeine content in teas also gives less physical effects as compared to carbonated drinks and coffee.
Finally, green tea with all its purity provides more health benefits as compared to other teas. These benefits are most effective when taken during before going to bed. Here, we are going to identify some of the benefits you can get from doing so.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea Before Bed
1. Green Tea Helps in Regulating Your Blood Sugar
At night, when you are asleep, blood sugar almost always crashes. This is because the production of cortisol rise while the production of melatonin decreases. Melatonin is important in helping you sleep, however with the added cortisol the body produces more glucose, therefore, spiking up your blood sugar.
Drinking green tea helps in regulating this with a specific component called polyphenol. This is a group of catechins that help absorb the added glucose production while you sleep.
2. Green Tea Boosts Your Metabolism
It is a well-known fact that before going to bed, it is not advised to eat anything nor eat a heavy dinner. This is because the body has a hard time burn up the calories while it is asleep. Add the fact that you are inactive for most of the time, your metabolism’s rate also decreases.
This is also very particular to those who are aging as well. As you grow older, you develop a slower metabolism even when you are active.
Drinking green tea before bed helps reduce the slower metabolic rate while you are sleeping and improve metabolic rate as you grow older. A study has done this in 10 persons and in a span of 24 hours they were able to increase the metabolic rate by almost 5%.
3. Green Tea Soothes Your Nerves to Better Make You Fall Asleep
Although green tea contains a bit of caffeine, this is somehow ineffective in keeping you awake because other components of green tea help in soothing your nerves and making you feel ready for bed.
The certain component responsible for this is the amino acid l-theanine. This certain amino acid helps in calming your nerves to help you get ready for bed. So even if it contains caffeine that is known to make people jittery and anxious, this is offset by the amino acid l-theanine.
It is also an added bonus that any warm beverage or drink taken before going to bed is effective in making you feel sleepy. These properties help you get a good night’s sleep and more importantly help you feel good upon waking up.
4. Green Tea May Be Helpful in Preventing Cancer
As mentioned, one important component only found in green tea among other teas is its EGCG content. This certain component is very powerful as it contains a lot of vitamin C and E. This is then very effective in preventing common cold and flu and, more importantly, is proven to have a huge role in preventing cancer.
It has been proven in a study that EGCG was able to prevent the tumor invasion and angiogenesis. These processes are responsible for the formation of tumor growth and metastasis of the cancer cells. With these prevented, the risk of cancer drops significantly.
Additionally, green tea contains a lot of antioxidants as well. These antioxidants, on the other hand, help damaging cells to be repaired. Combined with the power of EGCG is really a combination that can fight off cancer.
5. Green Tea Helps Detoxify Your Body
With all the antioxidants green tea is packed with, there is no doubt that one of its health benefits is to detoxify your body. Doing so while you are asleep and the body is at rest is most important and efficient.
What happens during detoxification is your body is eliminated of free radicals. These are known to attack and damage your existing healthy cells. If neglected, these can form a chain reaction which is very damaging to the liver. As you know, our liver is the one responsible for cleaning and detoxifying our system.
With green tea, the formation and attack of these free radicals are prevented. Furthermore, enzyme activity in the liver is increased significantly as well. This does not only help the liver boost its detoxification function but as well as protect the liver itself from harmful diseases such as liver cancer.
6. Green Tea Cleanses Your Mouth of Bacteria, Maintains Your Fresh Breath, and Fights Tooth Decay
More than its antioxidant properties, green tea also provides anti bacterial properties. These are most efficient and beneficial in one of the most important and crucial parts of our body — our mouth. Since food enters through the mouth, it is very important to maintain it clean. This prevents us from tooth decay and more than that prevents us from diseases.
Green tea has the power to do exactly just that. Green tea helps in preventing the formation of plaque in our teeth. It does this by attacking the existing acids that destroy the plaque. Accompanied by a very effective toothpaste and mouthwash, your mouth and teeth are sure to be at its cleanest.
8. Green Tea Boosts Your Brain Function
Green tea is also proven to help prevent cognitive diseases because it helps in boosting your brain function. This includes diseases such as dementia and alzheimers.
A study done in 2015 presented by the International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, it was proven that daily (or nightly) tea drinkers showed far less decline in cognitive function over those who did not.
Other than that, it’s safe amount of caffeine content is just enough to help your brain boost its function. Together with another brain boosting component, l-theanine, green tea is really is a food for the brain.
9. Green Tea Reduces Your Bad Cholesterol
The two kinds of cholesterol that can be found in our body is LDL and HDL. LDL is what’s considered the bad cholesterol. Drinking green tea has been proven to attack these bad cholesterol completely ignoring the good ones.
The first ever instance this study was done is in 2003. Human trials consumed green tea extract and at the end of the study, researchers found that their LDL dropped significantly as much as 35%. Although green tea will not help your cholesterol problems completely, this is still a good way to prevent risks that are associated with high LDL levels.
10. Green Tea Lowers Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
As mentioned, green tea fights off bad cholesterol on your body. These are known to give you higher risks of heart attack and stroke. But there are other ways how consuming green tea helps you lower the risk of having a heart attack and stroke.
Green tea first provides you with hydration. This is very important before going to bed as your body will not get ahold of water for long hours. Hydration before sleeping is known to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke while your body is asleep.
Another thing helpful in preventing heart attack and stroke is the presence of anti-inflammatory properties in green tea. These properties are so potent that in protects your body of cellular damage and, eventually, cardiovascular diseases.
11. Green Tea May Help You Live Longer
Green tea originated from East Asia where it has been widely used as food and medicinal supplement. This root of green tea is associated with the fact that people living on this side of the Earth live longer and healthier lives.
For instance, a study done to Japanese adults of about 40,000 human trials proved this to be true. Not only did it improve their metabolism as they got older but it also helped them prevent all of the above-mentioned diseases.
Significant results showed as well on the subject of stroke and heart disease. Death by heart disease in men and in women is lower for about 20-30% as compared to those who are not habitual tea drinkers. Death by stroke, on the other hand, is around 35-40% lower.
How to Prepare Green Tea
The most basic way to make your green tea is a very simple process. Although easy, this is proven to bring out the best components and properties of the tea to maximize all its benefits.
Before beginning preparing your tea, make sure you have all the tools and ingredients you need. Most important of course are your green tea leaves. About a teaspoon is enough for a cup of tea. If you are brewing it in a pot or kettle, a tablespoon is ideal. Don’t forget to prepare your tea strainer if necessary, cup, and water.
Start off by taking a teaspoon from your green tea leaves and put it in in your strainer. Boil the water. Make sure it’s properly boiled to kill any living bacteria. However, do not pour it into the cup immediately as the temperature is too hot. This burns the leaves and leaves a bad taste and may possibly get rid of healthy properties.
Wait for a while, around a minute, until the water has cool off a bit. The ideal temperature is around 80°C to 85°C. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer with you, you can instead to feel it with your fingertip. This should feel cooler but not enough to let your finger stay in the water.
Begin pouring the water over the strainer passing through the leaves to your cup. This should give you a pale green color of water. Let the strainer stay inside the cup submerged in water. This is called steeping. 3 minutes should be enough. If you like your tea stronger, leave it for a bit longer. If you want it mild, have a spoon ready and have a taste every minute.
That’s it! That’s how you want your tea before bed, at its finest. However, there are a couple of ways to add extra benefits to your tea. And no, this is not sugar or honey. Here are a handful ways to get the most out of your green tea.
You can opt to add a bit of lemon juice. Squirt some juice from a fresh lemon or leave a slice in your cup. This enhances the flavor of your tea if you prefer it citrusy and lemon provides a lot of health benefits as well. If you intend to lose weight, this is a great combination for you.
Aside from skipping any form of sugar, skip adding milk as well. This is because milk contains proteins, being an animal product, and these can bind with the antioxidants in the tea. This process will get rid of the health properties of the antioxidants as it becomes neutralized.
Finally, choose your green tea well. Green tea may differ from appearance depending on the place and the kind of plant it has been harvested from, however, what’s most important is the way it was processed. Green tea may not be fermented unlike black tea but some production plants have their tea oxidized. Oxidized tea has lost significant healthy compounds in it.
Precautions and Side Effects
Green tea, with all its health benefits and being dubbed as a superfood, is generally safe to take in all ages. But be mindful of the caffeine content children will receive from drinking green tea. A cup a day should be enough.
It also is proven to have no reactions to drugs and medications. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, pre-existing diseases might affect your body with the consumption of green tea.
If you suffer iron deficiency and anemia, skip drinking green tea because its components make it hard for you to absorb iron. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding mothers should also be careful with the caffeine content of green tea.
If you are sensitive to caffeine and suffer nausea, sleeping problems, heartburn, dizziness, convulsions, and nervousness with the consumption of caffeine, drinking green tea every night might not be a good idea.
If you think you have these conditions, consult your doctor first before trying to drink green tea.
Green tea has been present in medicinal history for centuries. It has been proven by a lot of scholars to provide health benefits with all the healthy components packed in it. There is no doubt why it is sometimes dubbed as a superfood.
Green tea before bed shows that it has a positive effect on your health. Many of these studies are proven for a long time while some are fairly new. Nonetheless, the power of green tea is undeniable. Taking it before sleeping would provide no harm.
However, as with any medicinal supplement, some are just prone to more risks than the others. This is no different with consuming green tea. Understand and assess your situation if doing the nightly habit is applicable to you. If it seems risky, always consult your doctor before beginning any supplement and regimen.