Can Drinking Green Tea Help Me Cope with Shift Work?

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Did you know there are five regions of the world called ‘blue zones’ where there are more centurions alive than anywhere else in the world?

Pretty amazing right? Such places like Sardinia in Italy and Okinawa in Japan are known as the healthiest places on earth.

The Essential Guide to Drinking Green Tea for Shift Workers | The Other Shift #shiftworktips #shiftworkdiet

What is their secret you ask? Along with maintaining exercise and ensuring family comes first, they suggest drinking green tea which is known as the ‘‘ anti-aging beverage. ’

I know the taste of green tea can take a little getting used to, but living a long, healthy life as these centurions do, despite our hectic schedules, sounds like a pretty good deal.

I’ll take a green tea to go, please!

What’s Inside Green Tea?

Green tea is bursting with precious antioxidants like catechins and poly-phenols because the leaves haven’t been fermented or dried out immediately like black tea. These antioxidants and chemicals help eliminate free radicles.Opens in a new tab.

What the heck are free radicles you ask?

Well, they form when the body uses energy and oxygen. In the short term, they are great for getting rid of old cells and germs but too much of them can destroy healthy tissue like DNAOpens in a new tab..

This causes premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

The Essential Guide to Drinking Green Tea for Shift Workers - Green Tea Fields - The other Shift

That’s where green teas antioxidants come to the rescue!

Benefits of Green Tea for Shift Workers

  • Anti-aging properties such as preventing eye disease, vision issues and importantly preventing cancerOpens in a new tab.. I don’t know about you but after a late early shift, I could use a whole gallon!
  • Lowers cholesterol by reducing the bad cholesterolOpens in a new tab. or ‘LDL’ in the blood
  • Helps prevent heart diseaseOpens in a new tab. by altering the lining of our blood vessels to help keep them relaxed and stop the formation of clots
  • Prevents the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by protecting the brain from plaque formation and preventing by the breakdown of important neurotransmittersOpens in a new tab. strongly linked with memory

Green Tea and Shift Work

When should you drink it? 

Between meals is best. If consumed during a meal it can reduce the absorption of thiaminOpens in a new tab. (vitamin B1) and lower the digestion and absorption of ironOpens in a new tab..

Should you drink it first thing after you wake up? 

No, green tea can play havoc with your liver on an empty stomach and can also cause dehydration.

Be cautious around bedtime and consume an hour before sleeping

This will leave you enough time to visit the bathroom a few times (as green tea is a diureticOpens in a new tab.) and for the caffeine to wear off so you can get some well deserved zzz’s.

Should you add milk?

If you want the full health effects then no. The main protein in milk products is called CaseinOpens in a new tab. and it doesn’t interact too well with green teas antioxidants. Plus, it might taste pretty horrible, but that’s just me!

Should the water be boiling?

No, high temperatures can destroy the special compounds found in green tea that make it so good for us. After the kettle has boiled, wait a few minutes before pouring. Others suggest to brew it cold to maximise the full health benefits. Green iced tea anyone?

What to do if you don’t like the taste?

Try adding honey, cinnamon, vanilla or lemon to enhance the flavor or make a batch of iced green tea. Experiment with different bands. I love the Davidsons brand of tea.

You can try the Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea below

The Essential Guide to Drinking Green Tea for Shift Workers - Green Tea - The Other Shift
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Or this Stash Tea Moroccan Mint Green Tea which is my favorite. 

The Essential Guide to Drinking Green Tea for Shift Workers - Green Tea - The Other Shift
Click to view on Amazon

Should you buy the cheap brand?

Of course, you can, but just be careful on the amount of fluorideOpens in a new tab. as it has been linked to poor health effects such as increasedOpens in a new tab. risk of diabetes, cancer and bone density. Just check the packaging.

What About the Caffeine Content of Green Tea?

There are a few different variables that come into play when measuring the exact caffeine content in green tea. Those being the variety of plant and climate growing conditions but also brew time, size of the cup and the amount of tea used.

If you’re a numbers person, the average amount of caffeine in an 8-oz (230-ml) serving of green tea is around 35 mg however, this can vary between 30 and 50 mgOpens in a new tab. per 8-oz serving. Coffee, on the other hand, has about 100 to 200 mgOpens in a new tab. of caffeine in the same size cup. This is why we still need to consider when are brewing a cup of green tea in relation to going to sleep. 

You may be shocked to hear that green tea leaves – in their dry form – hold more caffeine than coffee.

But we don’t drink it dry, so I’m not sure how significant this is, except maybe during a trivia night?

Caffeine is water-soluble meaning the longer then tea leaves remain in the water the more caffeine will be released. Tip – if you want less caffeine, infuse the leaves for a shorter time.

I accidentally bought decaffeinated green tea recently and I was initially mad at myself for not looking properly, but since trying it, I can’t taste the difference! It’s worked out perfectly before bedtime after all 🙂

The Essential Benefits of Green Tea For Shift Workers - The Other Shift - Pouring tea through strainer into cup and saucer

Consuming green tea every day as a shift worker can have a profound, positive effect on your health and longevity.

I agree the taste can take a while to get used to but try different brands until you find the perfect one.


Summary: Can Drinking Green Tea Help Me Cope with Shift Work?

Can Drinking Green Tea Help Me Cope with Shift Work? Absolutely!

But remember this is not your morning cuppa and best had between meals.

If you are looking for a morning beverage packed with health benefits, try lemon water. Read more about it here – Lemon water can change your life as a shift worker.

I would love to know how you went adding a touch of green to your day. What brands did you like? Did you find any unique flavors you want to share?

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Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

2 thoughts on “Can Drinking Green Tea Help Me Cope with Shift Work?

  1. Thanks for explaining how really high temperatures can ruin health benefits of tea, so it is best to wait a few minutes after water has boiled to pour it. Having never tried tea before, this is something I will make sure to do. I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and one aspect of that would be to eat healthier foods. I figured that tea might be a good place to start.

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