I discovered the benefits of drinking green tea during a game purely by accident. I had lost my large water jug so I purchased a large bottle of Arizona Green tea to use as my new water jug. I forgot to drink it before the game so I went into it with 42 fluid ounces of green tea as my sole source of hydration. Initially I didn’t think it would end well and anticipated mild dehydration and stomach cramps. However in the end I felt much more hydrated after the game was over than if I had been drinking water or Gatorade.
I decided to hit the web to figure out if green tea was a suitable form of hydration. I did some research, check/ cross check my facts and see if green tea can be a suitable substitution for water or sports drinks. Is green tea better than water? Is it better than Gatorade? I present to you my findings and experience.
These are all benefits of drinking tea that have been found via extensive studies. Of course green tea is mostly water so the quality of water put into it factors into the equation as well as what you add to it. Natural green tea has no sugar in it and has low sodium which is why I would add a bit of honey to it in order to get some of the extra nutrients needed to replace those lost during a game. Honey itself has a list of benefits a mile long by itself but I’m not going to delve into it at this point. Arizona green tea isn’t the perfect example for green tea because of the additives other than the Honey and Ginseng, however it is on par with the sugar content that we see in Gatorade. It is much better to simply brew your own and add some honey to it.
1. Green tea hydrates better than water and more naturally than Gatorade
This is due to the natural antioxidants and nutrients found in green tea. I found that it is definitely true, I found that I only made my way half way through a quarter of a gallon of green tea as opposed to a half gallon of water. Gatorade on the other hand is loaded with artificial ingredients to help your body retain the water, while green tea does this naturally. Contrary to common belief it isn’t a diuretic, it is no more diuretic than water anyway. The caffeine content isn’t high enough to have any impact.
2. Green tea boosts metabolism
Green tea has properties that increase the use of fatty acids in the body when burning fuel for energy so it will not only help you lose weight, but give you extra energy. I am able to support these findings, I was able to play a second game after I was done with the first! Gatorade has no metabolism boosting effects, it has actually been proven that it contributes to weight gain when not used in conjunction with high intensity exercise while green tea still gives you the boost even if you are just sitting and watching television or playing FIFA.
3. Tons of other benefits!
Green tea has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer, strengthen the immune system, strengthen bones, lower risk of heart disease, reverse signs of aging to a degree, reduce stress, and the list goes on and on. Gatorade only complicates things with excess sugar and additives. Water is also very good for you but since there are minimal amounts of nutrients in it you don’t get major return from drinking it. Add a little bit of green tea however and there you go!
4. My in game experiences, Water vs. Gatorade vs. Green tea
Up to this point I’ve been a true supporter of drinking the H2O over Gatorade. Gatorade would actually slow me down by making me feel congested and phlegmy while water didn’t. I only drink sports drinks when I am feeling absolutely dehydrated or am playing in hot weather as a last resort. Water doesn’t make me feel gummed up but I would have to drink at least a half gallon a game.
When Green tea came into the picture I expected it to give me the negatives of both but I was wrong, very wrong. It felt like I had the benefits of both water and Gatorade to tell you the truth. In fact I felt more energized and focused which was pretty interesting. I found that it actually gave my performance a bit of a boost. I even stuck around and played with the group that was on the field after me. Safe to say I”ll be drinking green tea in place of water or sports drinks from now on.
I may have found a new form of hydration on the field. It may be the fact that I’m a hippie (as my friends call me) but the benefits are undeniable. Green tea is natural and has a list of benefits a mile long. However I think I’ll be brewing my own green tea as opposed to going the route of Arizona Green Tea which does have some additional ingredients in it. I will also be drinking it cold, who wants to drink piping hot tea in the middle of a game anyway? However I still believe that water and sports drinks should be used in conjunction with green tea especially if conditions are adverse.
Anyone Willing To Give Green Tea a Go?
Updates and further results of experiementing
Game #2: Straight up green tea with a hint of honey
Arizona Green Tea isn’t just straight up green tea so I brewed my own batch. It consisted of four mugs worth of green tea with a teaspoons worth of honey per mug to add additional nutrients and some sugar/sodium or further fuel. The end result was much better than I had gotten with the Arizona Green tea, water or Gatorade. Afterwards I didn’t feel dehydrated at all.
Game #5: Perfected my brew
At this point I’m becoming quite good at brewing up the “perfect” batch of green tea! It has really started to grow on me and I’ve been drinking it even when I’m not playing. When I am playing however the results have remained the same, more energy, good hydration before and after the game. Right now I think the only time I won’t be bringing it to a game is those times where I don’t have time to make myself a bottle. I have had no negative side effects from drinking it and, if or until I do, I will be continue drinking it as my in game hydration for the forseeable future!
After a long testing period I don’t think I’ll ever go into a game without my tea again. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’m getting pretty creative with my tea. My favorite at the moment is green tea mixed with blueberry herbal tea, honey and a pinch of cinnimon thrown in. There have even been some games where I only go through half a bottle of the stuff. I have invested in a 40 ounce stainless steel container and it has served me very well and I highly recommend looking around for one if you getting serious about your hydration even if it isn’t tea. I’ve also noticed that I feel more energized even after the game. I’m also less dehydrated and sore the day after. I would choose it over gatorade any day of the week.
Looking at pre-made tea
I did spend time seeing if pre brewed tea such as Arizona, store brand or fuze have the same effect. To some point they actually do. Sugar content is way higher since they sweeten it up so much so it will sell better. I don’t like this so much because it did end up giving me a stomach ache if I drank it a tad too fast, most noticably with fuze. However if arizona floats your boat I suggest at least cutting it with your own home brewed tea in a 50/50 ratio. I also tested out powder form tea and it gunked me up just as bad as gatorade so avoid it at all costs.
Great post. I love tea (green and black) but never considered drinking it during game time. I live where its super hot so lots of water has always been the order. But I'l start trying this out soon. I'm curious to see how well Snapple would work. I know its one of the few pre made teas without high fructose corn syrup and other such ingredients.
I would also recommend coconut water from time to time. It can be good for post workouts and also hangover prevention.
Really good post. I will start trying this. I love unsweetened iced tea, but if I ever want a sweetener, I always go with agave syrup instead of honey. I'll give it a whirl! Cheers!
Awesome post man! But Arizona is actually horrible lol, lots of sugar. Regular green tea is the bomb.
I’m very well aware of this and have acknowledged this a few times in the article. I’ve gotten to the point where Arizona is so sweet that it is borderline nausea inducing unless I cut it with something.
Drink green tea without the sugar! You are on to something!
I think you have started a good new section for blogging. Supplements for soccer. The Gatorade prime is pretty good but have no idea if it actually helps. People I know are taking advanced creatine, cordyceps along with cardio ignite. Slightly more advanced than green tea.
I'll definitely be looking to do other articles like this. Advanced isn't always better sometimes, gatorade alone is considered more advanced than green tea.
Thanks for your research, Jim; I am attempting to make a switch from coffee to [green] tea & found your article/blog quite informative and helpful. FWIW, many Asian markets carry higher-end brands of “non”, or lightly sweetened iced/bottled green teas. I have found them to be vastly superior to their American counterparts and now, per your advice, look forward to trying to brew my own. Cheers!, Brett from MA
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I used to offer this BigeLow Herbal Tea for free to my spa customers. They love this tea and so natural. Very refreshing.