Green Tea VS Water

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Green Tea VS Water

Postby folmerveeman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:10 am UTC

Hey there XKCD-ians :)

Normally I drink about a litre of water a day (as 'extra' of sorts) while doing stuff on my computer in my room, but recently I've come in contact with the oh so yummy green tea. Seeing as green tea has next to no calories, lots of antioxidants and some vitamins and minerals, would that mean green tea is better to drink than water? And if so, could I replace that litre of water with a litre of green tea without breaking something in my body? :P

Thanks in advance :)

And discuss green tea in general here too if you want :P My favourite is green tea with lemon grass, gives it the much needed tang :)
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Decker » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:20 pm UTC

Here is the WebMD article on possible side effects of excessive green tea consumption, for whatever you think that's worth. According to this, you should be safe at a liter, but I wouldn't go much over that. Most of the side effects seem to stem from caffeine.
Last edited by Decker on Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:28 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

Yeah, green tea is very healthy, but it's also caffeinated. Much less caffeine than say, coffee, but I still would probably avoid drinking massive quantities.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Decker » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

Or just make sure you get decaf.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby folmerveeman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

Okay thanks! I'll try to drink like three or four cups a tea a day then, and I'll look into getting decaf :) Thanks for your help!
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

I want to point out that consuming antioxidants is one of the biggest health scams since snake oil.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby folmerveeman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:10 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I want to point out that consuming antioxidants is one of the biggest health scams since snake oil.


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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidan ... se_effects
Also, an op-ed piece, but Slate recently had something to put it in laymans terms:
http://www.slate.com/id/2300578/

In short, the proposed health benefits of antioxidants are not substantiated in humans, and with most things humans do, running it in excess can be bad for you.

Antioxidants are a health fad; like taking vitamins, there might be some fringe benefit, but it's probably going to be lost in the noise of things. I'd be willing to bet drinking a cup or two of green tea a day is good for you, but my guess is that 'good for you' bit is actually from taking a break from your day to reduce stress, and calmly sip something you enjoy.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby folmerveeman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Hmm, interesting reads, and I guess that even if the antioxidants are 'bad' or neutral green tea is good for you :) And I didn't want to do it because of the antioxidants anyway, but it seemed a good extra pro :P

Also I would like to apologise for my condescending tone :)
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:21 pm UTC

My doctor actually recommended I drink (unsweetened, obviously) drink tea as part of a diet/exercise routine, and even went so far as to say that OTC diet pills that had green tea extract as the active ingredient would be at least mildly effective. I haven't done it super-consistently, but it hasn't hurt?
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:46 pm UTC

What for out of curiosity? And the pills that are just as effective aren't caffeinated I assume?
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

What for what? Why are the green tea pills effective, or why did she recommend I take them/drink it?

I don't remember what specifically is in green tea that helps (though she told me), but she recommended I drink it/take the pills because she thinks I'm too fat (I am) and her mantra every time she sees me is "You need to cut calories and up exercise!" ...even when I have been on less than 1500 calories a day, and 4x weekly exercise. I should pick back up on that, though, sigh. Green tea seems much more doable at this particular juncture.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

So it's a metabolism jump starter? I guess what I'm asking is whether or not you're using Green Tea, or Green Tea Extract, for the antioxidants, or for something else. Do antioxidants have any link to fitness?
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:15 pm UTC

No. It was something else, that (supposedly) boosts the metabolism a bit. I keep wanting to say HCGC, but I know for certain it's NOT that (because that is a crazy diet that a bunch of my old coworkers were on).
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby gaurwraith » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:27 am UTC

One liter of tea seems too much. If you drink it quick enough you will surely feel "high".
When I was in Morocco I developed this addiction to green tea, and after downing a full teapot, a big one, maybe around 3/4 liter in one hour in the afternoon I had problems to get my sleep (which usually comes to me fast and heavey) and was overexcited

I mean, it's an excitant. one liter? also depends on the concentration I guess, if you do it very light it's not the same as if you do it very concentrated.

As for antioxidants... I wouldn't go as far as to take any pill. But a pomegranate, why not? A couple tea cups, why not?
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I heard this story also, how old men from the sahara were so addicted they cried from pleasure when drinking their tea...

can be addictive, for sure.


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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Cytoplasm » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:55 pm UTC

In my gym book it says there are properties in green tea that help your health and helop prevent cancer. Don't quote me on it; I can't remember the title at the moment. I would have to search for it. But green tea in moderation could be health savvy.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Felixworks » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:27 am UTC

Decker wrote:Here is the WebMD article on possible side effects of excessive green tea consumption, for whatever you think that's worth. According to this, you should be safe at a liter, but I wouldn't go much over that. Most of the side effects seem to stem from caffeine.


I just want to point out that the author of that article has made some fundamental errors about the caffeine content of green tea. "Caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of green tea)." Similar figures are used throughout the article.

Green tea is generally accepted to have under 50 milligrams of caffeine content per cup, and usually the number is around 20-30 milligrams. So while you may still want to limit your consumption, that decision should not be based on the "facts" about caffeine given in this article.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Decker » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:42 pm UTC

Also why I added "For what you think it's worth"
I generally don't consider WebMD to be that reliable.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Coffee » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:41 pm UTC

I drink about a liter of coffee per day, but then my schedule doesn't allow for a butt tonne of sleep.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby modularblues » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:40 pm UTC

I drink diluted green tea often, especially on days when I have long meetings. ~200ml of regular coffee can make me a super jittery squirrel. I have not tried decaf, but maybe it'll be similar to tea.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby cerbie » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:02 pm UTC

I've come to like citrus juice mixed in with weak tea. I generally brew the tea strongly, mix it (I eyeball proportions, sorry), then dilute the whole thing in whatever container it will go into. Orange juice and black tea tastes pretty much like tang. Green and oolong teas done this way don't have anything to compare to, on my palate, but are not bad at all.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Kevin88 » Thu May 16, 2013 8:12 pm UTC

Green tea has a lot of antioxidants and is very good for you health. You should not drink too much of anything; too much water at once can cause you to drown.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:36 am UTC

As with all food, balance is the key.

Caffeine is something I'm not worried about. It's the law of web medical research. Everything you search, ends up sounding like it is going to kill you quickly and efficiently. The caffeine in tea is also laced with polyphenols, which regulate absorption for a longer lasting and gentler lift than coffee.

Green tea is good for you. The Chinese have known this for 4,000 years. Water is also good for you, however. So why pick just one?

I prefer to drink tea (black, green, or white) with meals, but water in between.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:16 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:The Chinese have known this for 4,000 years.
So... Ok, listen;
There's something to be said for 4,000+ years of documented medical experimentation. I'm not being glib; a lot of Chinese medical texts get things right. Boiling willow bark and drinking the tea *WILL* reduce inflammation. They got that right. But drinking green tea is also purported to increase luck. They got that wrong.

That's the problem with relying on historical medicines; it's random, the placebo effect is strong, and even on the stuff they get right, they're not taking into account other issues you may have, dosing properly, etc. I don't doubt that a cup of green tea a day is great for you, but as I said earlier in this thread, it's not because green tea has magical ching balancing powers, or is chock full of antioxidants (it's not, really), or because of some unidentified compound. It's because you're taking time off your day to perform a ritual of relaxation, and that is likely to be incredibly good for you. I wager that Earl Grey has the exact same effects.

So, sure, rock your appeal to authority, but understand that just because the Chinese have been doing it for 4,000 years doesn't mean it's because antioxidants in the tea are the answer. They're not.
EchoRomulus wrote:Caffeine is something I'm not worried about.
You should be. Caffeine is way more serious a drug than the antioxidants you're asserting are going to have health benefits.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:24 pm UTC

I was not reporting on the medicinal effects of Green tea as the Chinese thought of them 4,000 years ago. I was not appealing to authority either. I was simply stating that they were able to figure this out barely after they perfected the wheel. But since we both agree that green tea is good for you, I don't want to argue about why it is god for you specifically, unless you want us both to get degrees in nutritional anthropology.

Izawwlgood wrote:I wager that Earl Grey has the exact same effects.


I would take that wager. I highly doubt black and green tea have the same effects, because they are made up of different chemicals.

Earl Grey in its purest form, is Black tea infused with bergamot oil, Mediterranean fruit.

EDIT: True Earl Grey leaves have been tumbled with the peel of the fruit, while lesser varieties have simply had the oil added to it.

Green tea in its purest form is green tea.

All tea comes from the same plant, but black tea has been exposed to heat and oxidized until the tea leaves turn black. Green tea however, has not been oxidized. That is why it has more antioxidants than black tea.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:50 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:But since we both agree that green tea is good for you, I don't want to argue about why it is god for you specifically, unless you want us both to get degrees in nutritional anthropology.
But the why is very, very important, especially when your motivation for doing so is 'because antioxidants'.

EchoRomulus wrote:I would take that wager. I highly doubt black and green tea have the same effects, because they are made up of different chemicals.
Well, yes, of course they're different chemicals, they're different plants. I don't think the word 'chemical' means what you think it means. And, as I've pointed out, the beneficial properties of green tea are most probably due to what amounts to a placebo affect, NOT because of antioxidants, which is why I'm suggesting that a relaxation ritual around drinking Earl Grey is just as health beneficial. But lets pick something WITHOUT antioxidants; I bet a relaxation ritual around drinking warm milk is just as beneficial.
EchoRomulus wrote:All tea comes from the same plant, but black tea has been exposed to heat and oxidized until the tea leaves turn black. Green tea however, has not been oxidized. That is why it has more antioxidants than black tea.
I highly suspect this is entirely bullshit. Green tea processing is traditionally done via steaming and subsequent drying, so, I'm not sure why you feel that this isn't heating, and why this isn't 'oxidizing', which again, I wager doesn't mean what you think it means.

And lets be clear; what exactly do you mean by 'antioxidants'? Because that means something beyond 'magic wobbly health molecules'. And they're found in Earl Grey.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:13 pm UTC

I was probably confused with the exact process. But all tea comes from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. To quote Wikipedia:

After picking, the leaves of C. sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize, unless they are immediately dried. The leaves turn progressively darker as their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This enzymatic oxidation process, known as fermentation in the tea industry, is caused by the plant's intracellular enzymes and causes the tea to darken. In tea processing, the darkening is stopped at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. In the production of black teas, the halting of oxidation by heating is carried out simultaneously with drying.


"Oxidize" means react with oxygen, I believe. And I have little idea what antioxidants are or why people claim they are so beneficial. It made sense to me though that the oxidized tea had fewer antioxidants than the tea which had not been oxidized.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:25 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:"Oxidize" means react with oxygen, I believe. And I have little idea what antioxidants are or why people claim they are so beneficial. It made sense to me though that the oxidized tea had fewer antioxidants than the tea which had not been oxidized.
But show me where green tea isn't oxidized, and show me how oxidizing the tea affects the amount of antioxidants (and what are antioxidants?), and show me that antioxidants actually do anything.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:06 pm UTC

There are a great many oxidation reactions that don't involve oxygen.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:44 pm UTC

Challenge accepted.

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Oxidized teas, such as black tea and oolong, are processed in a way that bruises the leaf, breaking cell walls and enabling enzymes in the leaves to cause natural oxidation reactions. These reactions are either allowed to carry out to completion, as in the case of most black tea, or are stopped by heating, as in the case of partially-oxidized oolongs. Unoxidized teas, like green tea, are heated earlier in the production process, denaturing the enzymes in the leaf that cause oxidation before the leaves are able to oxidize.



Sources: Wikipedia for the pic, Ratetea.com for the text.

Antioxidants are the counterparts of Free radicals, which are highly reactive or electronegative compounds which exist inside of cells. Unregulated reactions inside of a cell can of course cause all kinds of unpredictable damage. Antioxidants are designed to prevent this.

Common Antioxidants are Vitamins A C E and polyphenols. Polyphenols limit caffeine absorption by the way which gives tea its longer lasting, gentler lift on a tea drinker.

Sources: Wikipedia and Ratetea.com

The oxidation process which teas undergo does change the antioxidants. The leaves are distressed, and cell walls are broken allowing enzymes to react with other compounds, chemically altering the tea and making it darker. This process is stopped at some point with heat which switches the enzymes off completely, or the enzymes are allowed to carry the reactions to completion.

Green tea and black tea in fact, do not have different levels of antioxidants, but different kinds of antioxidants. In addition to this, because the oxidation process is not as strict as metabolic processes, the amount of antioxidants can vary widely from one tea sample to another. I could quote the Wikipedia page on Antioxidants and the articles from Ratetea.com but I gave a general summary of what they said.

Sources: Wikipedia and Ratetea.com

Unfortunately because the oxidation processes inside cells are unregulated, I doubted scientific research could prove or disprove their effects. There has been some research on the benefits and detriments of tea, but it is clear to me from what I've read that more needs to be done. There are many unanswered questions about how antioxidants work. My main question was how does the effect of oxidation inhibition prevent disease or promote health.

Wikipedia seems to suggest that antioxidants can be applied medicinally, which makes sense because they can use a whole lot of them to target a problem specifically. Now because the antioxidants in tea can't o that, the benefits are most likely too minimal to be detectable except by a long term lifestyle study. Afterall, small changes over years can make a difference.

sources: Wikipedia and ratetea.com
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Xenomortis » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:23 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:"Oxidize" means react with oxygen, I believe. And I have little idea what antioxidants are or why people claim they are so beneficial. It made sense to me though that the oxidized tea had fewer antioxidants than the tea which had not been oxidized.


Oxidation is an increase in "oxidation state" - essentially (and what people get taught in pre-college chemistry classes) a loss of electrons.
Oxygen happens to be a very common oxidiser (hence the term "oxidation"). But there are others, some not involving oxygen at all (like the halogens).

In general, oxygen (O2) is actually a pretty damaging molecule.
My biochemistry knowledge gets pretty shaky at this point; AFAIK, oxygen reactions in the body can produce some fairly unstable molecules/ions/free-radicals, and it's these that can do damage.
The idea is that antioxidants prevent this by being oxidised themselves.

Whether or not this actually amounts to anything, I do not know.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:45 pm UTC

According to Wikipedia it can. It said that it can be used for smoke inhalation victims.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Angua » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:09 pm UTC

The evidence for anti-oxidants actually being good for you is pretty shaky. Your body already produces done very potent antioxidants, and I don't think there's that much evidence for ingestion of them being physiologically useful. I know they been looked at in some generic diseases where you get build up of oxidants and they haven't helped.

To be honest, when I read the wikipedia article on antioxidants I get the impression that it agrees that the health benefits haven't been proven.

I don't know about the smoke inhalation thing. Is it actually shown in trials on a large scale, or hypothetical?

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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:51 am UTC

Basically the above. My point from the get go has been that 'antioxidants' don't do what you think they're doing, their link to flavor or caffeine absorption seems even more shoddy, and that the real health benefits from drinking tea is from the stress reduction, the taking a 30 minute break to perform a 'stress reduction ritual'. This is why I suggested the same health benefits could be had from drinking a warm glass of milk.

All of your points about the oxidation that teas are or are not undergoing as part of their production is 100% irrelevant to anything aside from the taste. All your points about what antioxidants may be doing sound like they're lifted from 'www.antioxidantsareossim.com'.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby ahammel » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:13 am UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:"Oxidize" means react with oxygen, I believe. And I have little idea what antioxidants are or why people claim they are so beneficial. It made sense to me though that the oxidized tea had fewer antioxidants than the tea which had not been oxidized.
Antioxidants are meant to react with oxygen radicals. It has nothing to do with the oxidization that goes on when you cure tea.

Green tea and black tea have about the same antioxidant activity in vitro[1]. Whether this does anything in vivo is unclear, I guess.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:14 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:I was not reporting on the medicinal effects of Green tea as the Chinese thought of them 4,000 years ago. I was not appealing to authority either. I was simply stating that they were able to figure this out barely after they perfected the wheel. But since we both agree that green tea is good for you, I don't want to argue about why it is god for you specifically, unless you want us both to get degrees in nutritional anthropology.

Izawwlgood wrote:I wager that Earl Grey has the exact same effects.


I would take that wager. I highly doubt black and green tea have the same effects, because they are made up of different chemicals.

Sounds like you do want to argue about why it is good for you, after all.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby EchoRomulus » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:27 am UTC

My research was lifted from the sites I wrote down. -_- Go belittle them.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Bakemaster » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:33 pm UTC

EchoRomulus wrote:Antioxidants are designed to prevent this.

Designed?
EchoRomulus wrote:Wikipedia seems to suggest that ...

"Quasi-anonymous users have edited Wikipedia to suggest that ..."

You haven't cited any sources worth our time to belittle. I think the point Izawwlgood is trying to make is just that your line of argument is essentially wild speculation based on the popular wisdom concerning antioxidants. Unfortunately, in the field of nutrition, the popular wisdom is shaped far more by advertisers trying to sell you Goji berries and flax shakes than by good science.

And Wikipedia is all well and good, but not every citation gets checked by someone who has the background to judge whether it actually supports the statement being made, or not. So you really have to go direct to the cited source if you want to make an argument based on science.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:12 pm UTC

That was my point, but echo, if you actually read the wiki, you would see exactly what I've been saying. It outright says that there is no scientific evidence that antioxidants have prohealth benefits.
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Re: Green Tea VS Water

Postby Quercus » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:49 pm UTC

This is obviously only anecdotal but I once drank 6 small pots of jasmine tea (green tea based) in about 4 hours and the effects were, well, strange. I don't think it was the caffeine as I didn't feel buzzy as after too much coffee, more completely spaced out, dizzy and unable to focus. Green tea is great but I might be careful about consuming very large quantities at once.

Also, do not, under any circumstances, make green tea with boiling water. It needs to be made with water at about 80oC, but really anything that is hot but not just boiled will work okay. I use an online calculator (google "water temperature mixing calculator - the URL triggers the spam filters) to calculate the approximate proportions to mix of boiling and cold water. Boiling water just makes green tea excessively bitter and masks any of the more subtle flavours.
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