Thursday, January 08, 2009

Trying to give up coffee. Is Green Tea an option?

I was starting get caffeine withdrawal headaches in San Francisco - headaches that would increase the nausea I experienced while sitting in the back seat while being driven around the Bay Area. The headache would start if I didn't get a chance to drink coffee in the morning, and it would subside momentarily if I did get a caffeine fix later in the day, but as the caffeine shock would pass, the headache would rear its ugly head again.

It's no resolution, but I want to rid myself of my caffeine addiction. Like giving up Nicotine, there are two ways to give up Caffeine - the phased approach or the cold turkey way. In researching the first option, I am stumbling upon the many health benefits of Green Tea:
Green Tea has four important constituents that all work together, caffeine, tannin, essential oils and vitamins. Many people may be surprised to hear that caffeine can actually be beneficial when taken in tea as it works slightly differently from the caffeine in coffee. The good news is caffeine in tea can stimulate the circulation and metabolism via the central nervous system. As more oxygen is pumped to the brain, mental powers are heightened, reactions speed up and muscle function improves.

The tannin in the Green Tea works alongside the caffeine, having a relaxing and stabilising effect. This means the caffeine is absorbed more slowly and prevents that "caffeine shock" we all know too well from coffee.

Green tea contains L-theanine. L-theanine is a healthy amino acid that is only found in tea plants and certain mushrooms. L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves which promotes a state of relaxed awareness, it has a calming effect on the body without making one drowsy.
If brewed right, most of the caffeine in Green Tea can be expunged:
There is a way of naturally removing caffeine and preserving the health benefits. Steep the tea for 45 seconds in hot water and then pour off the liquid. Next, add more hot water and steep as you normally would to brew a cup of that tea. Up to 80 percent of the caffeine is released in the first infusion of water so only minimal amounts will remain when you add water the second time. This method eliminates very little of the tea’s flavor and aroma.
Too bad I like the taste of coffee way too much, and Green Tea don't taste any good :( Why is it that in most cases, the healthier option tastes worse than the unhealthier one?

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