Caffeine in Green Tea
Unlike the caffeine in coffee or energy drinks, the caffeine molecules in green tea are attached to catechin molecules which are larger and therefore cause the caffeine to take longer to break down; in other words, the catechin causes the caffeine to be released in your body more slowly over time. This gradual release allows you to stay alert for a sustained period of time without ever experiencing the sudden crash or anxiety caused by regular caffeine, while a compound called L-theanine simultaneously keeps you calm and free of anxiety by inducing alpha-waves which are normally achieved through deep meditation. It provides better calm and focus in moments of stress, thus preventing and further reducing stress-related damage to cells. Studies showed that consuming caffeine with L-theanine resulted in fewer mistakes when carrying out complex tasks than after consuming caffeine alone. L-theanine has also been shown to have beneficial effects on mental state and sleep quality, and therapeutic effects in psychiatric and depressive disorders.
The Bottom Line
While all the extraordinary compounds in green tea can often be taken separately in supplement form, there is a critical synergy that takes place in their naturally occurring state within green tea as a whole food. However, not all green teas are the same. It is important to check the source and quality of the green tea you choose. Because green tea is highly absorbent of its surrounding elements, purity and a complete absence of pesticides and chemicals are critical. It is also important to consume enough green tea on a daily basis in order to properly reap its benefits. Various studies have shown that somewhere between three and ten cups of green tea should be consumed per day in order to experience its effects. See our suggestions on how to make increased daily intake of green tea approachable and easier than you may have thought.