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Last modified on August 25th, 2020
What is the best time to drink green tea?
This is a common question, and green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can have. We explore the best time to drink green tea, as well as what to know about the benefits of green tea and how to choose the best green tea.
Should You Drink Green Tea First Thing in the Morning?
Does drinking green tea in the morning have benefits?
There are several times of day that are good to drink green tea, depending on your goals and reasons for having it.
First thing in the morning may not be on that list of the best time to drink green tea because it can leave you with an upset stomach, especially if you’re sensitive anyway.
Green tea has something called catechins, which are one reason that if you have it on an empty stomach, it can make you feel nauseous.
With that being said, if you don’t have a sensitive stomach or you’re going to have green tea with breakfast, it might not be a bad idea.
When you drink green tea first thing in the morning, it may help improve your focus and concentration because it does contain caffeine, which is a stimulant.
Interestingly, green tea also has something called L-theanine.
L-theanine is an amino acid that has calming effects, but it doesn’t cause drowsiness.
That’s why green tea might be a great alternative to your morning cup of coffee. The caffeine and the L-theanine can work together, and you’re less likely to experience some of the negative side effects you might have with coffee on its own.
Drinking Green Tea Before You Work Out
Another time to consider drinking green tea is before a workout.
There was a study that looked at 12 men and found having green tea extract before they did exercise increased their fat-burning by 17%, compared to the placebo the control group was given.
There was a separate study of 13 women that found when they had three servings of green tea the day before they worked out, and then one serving two hours before a workout, it led to an increase in fat- burning.
If your specific question is what is the best time to drink green tea for weight loss, consider doing it before you work out, based on what we currently know.
To further elaborate on the question of “what is the best time to drink green tea for weight loss,” you might want to do so 90 minutes before exercising. Choose a green tea with a high amount of what’s called EGCG if your goal is weight loss, or you can take an EGCG extract supplement, which we’ll discuss more below.
If you want to boost your metabolism with green tea, you should aim for three to five cups a day, and try to take it anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes after eating, unless iron absorption is a concern, which we touch on below.
Are There Times You Shouldn’t Drink Green Tea?
While drinking green tea in the morning has benefits, and the best time to drink green tea overall might be before a workout, are there bad times to drink green tea?
The answer is possibly.
First, green tea can potentially inhibit your body’s absorption of iron. Keep that in mind if you’re considering the best time to drink green tea, and particularly if you’re anemic.
For example, you should wait several hours before or after taking an iron supplement before you have green tea. You should also think about waiting before or after meals to have green tea if you have one that has a lot of iron.
It’s not just iron absorption that can be impacted by green tea.
The EGCG in green tea can also bind to minerals such as chromium and copper and prevent your body from absorbing them.
Should You Drink Green Tea Before Bed?
Is the best time to drink green tea before bed? This depends. There are some caffeine-free green tea formulations which may be okay before bed, but otherwise, be aware that having green tea too close to bedtime can make it harder to sleep.
One cup of green tea has around 35 mg of caffeine.
If you’re very sensitive to caffeine, you might want to avoid drinking green tea up to six hours before you head to bed.
What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?
Green tea, no matter when you drink it, has potentially powerful health benefits.
Green Tea Reduces Inflammation
We are learning so much about the far-reaching negative effects of chronic inflammation on our bodies. Green tea is a powerful inflammation fighter. It contains polyphenol antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect cells from the damage that can lead to chronic illnesses, including cancer.
Give Your Brain a Boost
So many of us are constantly on the lookout for ways to keep our brains healthy and focused. We mentioned above that the best time to drink green tea if your stomach can handle it, may be the morning and that’s largely because of the positive effects it can have for your brain.
The amino acid L-theanine in green tea combined with caffeine has been shown to optimize memory and brain function, improve cognitive performance, and even improve mood.
Since green tea is a powerful fighter of oxidative stress, it may also help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which are neurodegenerative diseases.
Green Tea May Help You Lose Weight
If you’re asking the best time to drink green tea, your main goal might be weight loss. There’s evidence green tea can support weight loss or weight management. Research shows green tea can improve your metabolism and stimulate your body to burn more fat.
Green tea may also reduce your appetite, and it prevents something called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels, and fat tissue growth requires this process.
Immune System Support
When you drink green tea, it has a variety of properties, including antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial effects that are good for your immune system. Green tea is also a prebiotic, which means it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, and those healthy bacteria are an integral part of your immune system.
Blood Sugar Control
There was a meta-analysis of 17 published studies, looking at the links between green tea and blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Green tea was found to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and A1C.
A Japanese study looked at 14,000 people over a period of five years and found green tea consumption was related to a reduced risk of developing diabetes even after adjusting for other risk factors.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers of Americans every year, but many of these deaths are preventable with lifestyle changes.
Green Tea vs. Green Tea Extract: Is One Better Than the Other?
Along with asking what time of the day is best to drink green tea, another common question people have is whether or not taking a green tea extract, typically in pill or capsule form, is as good for you as drinking green tea.
A green tea supplement or extract is derived from the plant, and it has concentrated amounts of all of the beneficial things in tea including flavonoids, polyphenols, and antioxidants.
For the most part, a green tea supplement should offer you the health benefits of drinking green tea.
It can be more convenient as well because you don’t have to brew so many cups of tea throughout the day. Since green tea extract supplements are often very concentrated, you may just have to take a couple of capsules a day to get the benefits of many cups of tea.
With that being said, you should always make sure you find the highest-quality green tea supplement to ensure that the nutrients weren’t stripped out of the plant during the extraction process.
What Is EGCG?
If you’re considering taking a green tea supplement as opposed to drinking actual green tea, you might find that many are labeled as EGCG. EGCG is the compound found in green tea known as catechin. Catechins are polyphenols and are powerful antioxidants. EGCG is believed to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic illnesses such as some types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Most of the health benefits of drinking green tea are linked to the fact that it contains EGCG.
Summing Up—What is the Best Time of Day to Drink Green Tea?
Green tea has profound potential health benefits, and when answering the best time to drink green tea, the answer is any time unless you’re sensitive to caffeine, in which case you should avoid it before bed.
For some people, the best time to drink green tea can be in the morning because it can give them focus and energy.
What is the best time to drink green tea for weight loss?
Again the general answer is anytime, but if you take green tea before you work out, it can help fuel you and help you burn fat more effectively.