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When Is the Best Time to Drink Green Tea?

a man at work holding a cup of green tea

Green tea is enjoyed around the world for its mild yet refreshing taste and numerous proven health benefits. Some like to enjoy a cup of green tea first thing in the morning for a relaxing start to the day, and others in the evening to ease out of the mid-afternoon slump. But is there a "best time to drink green tea" to maximise its benefits? And if you drank green tea at the wrong time, would that impact your health negatively? We cover all this and more in this article.

When Is It Best to Drink Green Tea?

Ideally, you should start your day with a cup of green tea for the energy boost from its caffeine content. This can result in increased alertness and potential weight loss results throughout the day— more on that below. Its nutrient-rich antioxidants may also help contribute to glowing skin, making it perfect for morning rituals.

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If morning drinking does not suit you, then it's perfectly fine to have it anytime throughout the day so long as you don't consume it too close to bedtime - since it may disrupt sleep patterns.

Discovering the best time for drinking green tea is a personal journey so try to experiment to find what works best for you.

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

Before discussing green tea's effects at different times, let's take a brief look at how green tea acts on the body. Green tea contains a lot of potent compounds that benefit human health in different ways. Here are just some of the known benefits:

  • Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants that may protect the body against various types of cancers, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. One particular antioxidant or catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG may help prevent cell damage in addition to other key benefits.
  • The polyphenols in green tea may help to reduce inflammation and fight the risk of cancer.
  • Green tea also contains caffeine, albeit in lesser quantities than regular coffee, providing a milder version of the "buzz" minus the side effects.
  • An amino acid called L-Theanine, present in green tea, may also help to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety.
  • Caffeine and L-theanine, in combination, are associated with improvement in brain function.
  • Green tea may benefit the skin by protecting against the risk of skin cancer, slowing down ageing, and protecting against skin inflammation.
  • Green tea extract has been suggested to potentially enhance fat burn and increase metabolic rate in certain individuals, based on some studies conducted on both men and women.

How Drinking Green Tea in the Morning Affects You

Green tea consumed in the morning can help wake you up without causing excessive jitters like regular coffee does. The caffeine present in green tea helps to boost your focus and alertness, while the compound L-theanine helps you relax. Both compounds work powerfully together to improve brain function. So green tea in the morning can help you gently ease into the first half of the day while still maintaining focus and concentration.

Benefits of Drinking Green Tea in the Afternoon

It's common for many people to experience a mid-afternoon slump. Green tea can re-energize your nerves and revitalize you physically, enabling you to cope with the demands of the remaining day. Same as in the mornings, the caffeine will help wake you up and give you a sense of focus, while L-theanine will help with the stress.

Furthermore, researchers discovered that green tea positively affects blood sugar control, preventing energy crashes and promoting sustained focus. Plus, drinking green tea in the afternoon can be a healthy alternative to sugary drinks or snacks that are often consumed for a quick pick-me-up.

Is It Recommended to Drink Tea Before or After a Workout?

Evidence suggests that consuming green tea extract BEFORE a workout increases fat burn by as much as 17%. Another study discovered that men who received a 500mg supplement of green tea extract experienced faster recovery times. This is due to green tea's ability to reduce muscle damage.

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Are There Any Less Desirable Times for Drinking Green Tea?

Experts recommend drinking green tea between meals instead of with meals. This is because it contains compounds that can hinder nutrient absorption, particularly minerals like iron, chromium, and copper.

Even if consumed up to 6 hours before bedtime, green tea may prevent some people from getting sleep at night. It may increase your blood pressure and cause anxiety,  nervousness, or jitteriness due to its caffeine content. Green tea has less caffeine compared to coffee, but if you're sensitive to caffeine, it may be a good idea to avoid it altogether.

Additionally, consuming green tea on an empty stomach can cause unpleasant side effects like nausea and gastric pain. The compounds found in green tea, especially catechins and tannins, can increase gastric acid production, irritating the lining of an empty stomach.

When to Drink Tea for Specific Health Benefits

a woman working while drinking green tea in the afternoon

We know how drinking green tea at different times of the day can affect the body. But what about the best times to drink tea for specific health benefits?

Best Time to Drink Green Tea for Glowing Skin

You can drink green tea at any time of the day to improve your skin health. Green tea has shown benefits in preventing aging, improving the general condition of the skin, and maintaining its firmness for longer. Simultaneously, it's advisable to refrain from drinking tea during meals to avoid hindering mineral absorption by the body. Also, avoid it in the evenings and at night if it stops you from sleeping.

Best Time to Drink Green Tea for Weight Loss

Based on existing studies, drinking tea before working out shows the maximum benefits for weight loss by supporting fat-burning. Conversely, individuals are also advised to avoid green tea on an empty stomach due to the possibility of experiencing undesirable effects such as nausea and abdominal discomfort. Make sure to follow a healthy diet plan and a regular exercise program for the best results.

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Best Time to Drink Green Tea to Boost Your Metabolism

For those desiring to rev up their metabolism, the optimal time to enjoy a cup of green tea is in the morning. While not compulsory, drinking green tea immediately upon waking can help your body better metabolize the food you eat throughout the day. Experts suggest consuming more green tea about 30 to 60 minutes prior to meals. On the other hand, they also recommend avoiding green tea on an empty stomach, as it may lead to undesirable effects such as nausea and abdominal discomfort in certain individuals.

Best Time to Drink Green Tea for PCOS

The benefits of green tea for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are seen regardless of when you consume it. There is no specific best time to drink green tea.

However, studies suggest that drinking green tea on a regular basis can result in weight loss, lower levels of free testosterone, and reduced insulin resistance in obese women diagnosed with PCOS. Moreover, green tea's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can have a positive impact on overall well-being and help manage PCOS symptoms.

Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that green tea should be used in combination with dietary and lifestyle modifications as prescribed by a healthcare professional, rather than viewed as a lone solution.

Best Time to Drink Green Tea for Fatty Liver

Green tea is a beneficial drink to help support healthier liver function. Rich in catechins, flavonoids, and other active compounds, green tea has been shown to reduce liver enzymes in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Experts suggest consuming green tea in between meals, as the catechins may interfere with the absorption of iron from plant-based foods. However, green tea should not be used as a sole treatment for fatty liver disease; experts also recommend lifestyle interventions including improved nutrition and physical activity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the best time to drink green tea: before or after meals?

To maximize its nutritional benefits, it is recommended that you enjoy green tea between meals rather than right before or after eating. This allows you to avoid the potential disruption of nutrient absorption caused by tannins that bind to minerals like iron, copper, and chromium. Additionally, drinking green tea late at night should be avoided as its caffeine content may cause difficulty sleeping. Integrate green tea into your diet strategically, taking full advantage of its wonderful health benefits and avoiding any negative side effects.

Q2. When should you drink green tea, morning or night?

Green tea can be enjoyed in the mornings, at night, or even throughout the day. The caffeine and L-theanine present in green tea can help you wake up without much of the side effects of other caffeine-containing beverages like coffee. At the same time, some individuals are sensitive to caffeine, even in small amounts. If you can't sleep after drinking green tea in the evenings, it's best to avoid it altogether.

Q3. Which is the worst time to drink green tea?

It's best to avoid drinking green tea together with your meals because it can prevent the body from absorbing vital minerals like copper, iron, and chromium. Green tea has caffeine, so avoid it altogether in the evenings or at night if it keeps you awake at bedtime.

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Final Thoughts

Green tea is considered one of the healthiest beverages to drink in the world.  While green tea has a lot of health-giving compounds, it can have side effects depending on when you're drinking it. Some people may also be sensitive to the caffeine present in green tea.  Use the information provided in this guide to work out the best time for you.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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