If you want the benefits of green tea but don't want to risk getting too much caffeine, don't worry -- decaf green tea has many of the same potential health benefits. Many of these benefits are due to the beneficial phytochemicals found in tea and not the caffeine. Check with your doctor before increasing your green tea consumption, however, since it can interact with certain medications.
Inhibits Weight Gain
Drinking green tea may help you limit weight gain or lose a small amount of weight compared to drinking a placebo, according to a study published in "Pharmacological Research" in May 2009. Another study, published in the "Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics" in December 2012, found that decaf green tea lowered energy consumption, although the weight loss that resulted wasn't significant. While decaf green tea may have some effect on weight loss, consuming caffeinated green tea might increase this effect since caffeine may further stimulate your metabolism.
The 2012 "Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics" study also found that decaf green tea lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which means it could potentially lower your heart disease risk, although research is still preliminary. The antioxidants in green tea may also limit your risk for clogged arteries, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Blood Glucose Control
Adding decaf green tea to your diet may help improve your blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity, according to a study published in "Atherosclerosis" in October 2012. However, people with diabetes should speak with their doctors before consuming large amounts of decaf green tea due to these potential blood sugar-lowering effects.
Potential Cancer Preventer
Beneficial plant chemicals called polyphenols, including epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or ECGC, have antioxidant and anti-cancer effects, according to an article published in "Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics" in September 2010. These polyphenols may cause cancer cells to die and limit the production of new cancer cells. However, people undergoing chemotherapy may need to abstain from decaf green tea, since it has the potential to change the effectiveness of chemotherapy medications, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- Pharmacological Research: Weight and Plasma Lipid Control by Decaffeinated Green Tea
- Atherosclerosis: Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract Improves Hypertension and Insulin Resistance in a Rat Model of Metabolic Syndrome
- Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics: Green Tea Improves Metabolic Biomarkers, Not Weight or Body Composition: A Pilot Study in Overweight Breast Cancer Survivors
- Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics: The Antioxidant and Pro-oxidant Activities of Green Tea Polyphenols: A Role in Cancer Prevention