Green tea before match?

Hi guys,

Just need some health advice. Is green tea suitable to drink prior to a match? I usually drink green tea at work 3x a day and find that it relaxes me and gives me energy. However I am not sure it is appropriate to drink prior to a sporting activity. I thought it might be a good way to calm nerves? Your thoughts please? Thanks in advance.

Green tea is full of caffeine. Here is some info from a textbook:

Chapter 70 - Camellia sinensis (green tea)

Michael T. Murray ND
Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr ND

Camellia sinensis (family: Theaceae)
Common names: green tea


Both green tea and black tea are derived from the same plant, the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). The tea plant originated in China, but is now grown and consumed worldwide. The tea plant is an evergreen shrub or tree that can grow up to a height of 30 feet, but is usually maintained at a height of 2–3 feet by regular pruning. The shrub is heavily branched with young hairy leaves. Parts used are the leaf bud and the two adjacent young leaves together with the stem, broken between the second and third leaves. Older leaves are considered of inferior quality.

Green tea vs. black tea

Green tea is produced by lightly steaming the freshly cut leaf, while black tea is produced by allowing the leaves to oxidize. During oxidation, enzymes present in the tea convert many polyphenolic therapeutic substances to compounds with much less activity. With green tea, oxidation is not allowed to take place because the steaming process inactivates these enzymes. Green tea is very high in polyphenols with potent antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Oolong tea is a partially oxidized tea.

Of the nearly 2.5 million tons of dried tea that are produced each year, only 20% are green tea. India and Sri Lanka are the major producers of black tea. Green tea is produced and consumed primarily in China, Japan, and a few countries in North Africa and the Middle East.


The chemical composition of green tea varies with climate, season, horticultural practices, and age of the leaf (position of the leaf on the harvested shoot). The


major components of interest are the polyphenols.[1] [2] The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids, e.g.:

• catechin

• epicatechin

• epicatechin gallate

• epigallocatechin gallate

• proanthocyanidins.

Epigallocatechin gallate is viewed as the most significant active component. The leaf bud and the first leaves are richest in epigallocatechin gallate. The usual concentration of total polyphenols in dried green tea leaf is around 8–12%.


Other compounds of interest in dried green tea leaf include:

• caffeine (3.5%)
• an unusual amino acid known as theanine (one-half of the total amino acid content which is usually 4%)
• lignin (6.5%)
• organic acids (1.5%)
• protein (15%)
• chlorophyll (0.5%).

One cup of green tea usually contains about 300–400 mg of polyphenols and between 50 and 100 mg of caffeine.

Commercial preparations are available that have been decaffeinated and concentrated for polyphenols to between 60 and 80% total polyphenols.


Most of the epidemiological and experimental studies on tea have focused on the cancer-causing and cancer-protective aspects. Green tea polyphenols are potent antioxidant compounds which have demonstrated greater antioxidant protection than vitamin C and E in experimental studies.[3]

In addition to exerting antioxidant activity on its own, green tea may increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes. In mice, oral feeding of a polyphenolic fraction isolated from green tea in drinking water for 30 days resulted in significantly increased activities of antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-transferase, catalase, and quinone reductase) in the small intestine, liver, and lungs, and in small bowel and liver.[4]

With regard to cancer, a number of in vitro and experimental models of cancer have shown that green tea polyphenols may offer significant protection.[5] [6] [7] [8] Specifically, green tea polyphenols inhibit cancer by blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds like nitrosamines, suppressing the activation of carcinogens, and increasing detoxification or trapping of cancer-causing agents. Numerous studies have shown that green tea (including green tea polyphenols and extracts) exert significant inhibitory effects on the formation of nitrosamines in various animal and human models. For example, when human volunteers ingest green tea along with 300 mg sodium nitrate and 300 mg proline, nitrosoproline formation is strongly inhibited.[9]


The primary clinical application for green tea is in the prevention of cancer. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that green tea consumption may be one of the major reasons why the rate of cancer is so low in Japan. In contrast, however, black tea consumption appears associated with a substantial increase in the risk of several forms of cancer. Green tea also appears to be of value in several chronic diseases, especially those of the heart and liver.


Green tea

The forms of cancer which appear to be best prevented by green tea are those of the gastrointestinal tract, including cancers of the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon; the lung; and estrogen-related cancers, including most breast cancers.[10]

A study in Shanghai, China, found a strong inverse association between green tea consumption and various cancers.[11] For men, compared with non-regular green tea drinkers, the group with the highest green tea consumption had an 18% reduced risk for colon cancer; 28% for rectal cancer; and 37% for pancreatic cancer. In women, the highest group of green tea consumers had a reduced risk of 33% for colon, 43% for rectal, and 47% for pancreatic cancer.

In preventing breast cancer, in vitro studies have shown that green tea extracts have inhibitory effects on the growth of mammary cancer cell lines.[8] The main anti-cancer action is inhibiting the interaction of estrogen with its receptors. Polyphenol compounds in green tea extracts block the interaction of tumor promoters, hormones and growth factors with their receptors – a kind of sealing-off effect. The sealing-off effect would account for the reversible growth arrest noted in the in vitro studies.

In animal studies, green tea has been shown to very effectively inhibit the lung carcinogenesis induced by injections of asbestos and benzo(a)pyrene. Rats consuming water with 2% green tea experienced a cancer rate of only 16% compared with 46% for those consuming water without green tea extract.[12]

Black tea

In contrast to green tea's protective effects, population studies seem to indicate that black tea consumption

may increase risk for certain cancers (e.g. cancer of the rectum, gall bladder, and endometrium).[12] [13]

For example, in one study, the relationship between black tea consumption and cancer risk was analyzed using data from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1990.[11] The data set included 119 biopsy-confirmed cancers of the oral cavity and throat, 294 of the esophagus, 564 of the stomach, 673 of the colon, 406 of the rectum, 258 of the liver, 41 of the gall bladder, 303 of the pancreas, 149 of the larynx, 2,860 of the breast, 567 of the endometrium, 742 of the ovary, 107 of the prostate, 365 of the bladder, 147 of the kidney, 120 of the thyroid, and a total of 6,147 controls admitted to hospital for acute non-cancerous conditions. The risk of developing cancer due to tea consumption was derived after allowance for age, sex, area of residence, education, smoking, and coffee consumption. Results indicated an increased risk with tea consumption for cancers of the rectum, gall bladder, and endometrium. There was no association with cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, bladder, kidney, prostate, or any other site considered.

In another study, men of Japanese ancestry were clinically examined, beginning during the period 1965–1968.[12] For 7,833 of these men, data on black tea consumption habits were recorded. Since 1965, newly diagnosed cancer incidence cases have been identified: 152 colon, 151 lung, 149 prostate, 136 stomach, 76 rectum, 57 bladder, 30 pancreas, 25 liver, 12 kidney and 163 at other (miscellaneous) sites. Compared with "almost-never" drinkers, men who habitually drink black tea more than once a day had a four times greater chance of developing rectal cancer.[14]

Cardiovascular and liver disease

A prospective epidemiological study begun in 1986 by researchers in Japan evaluated the relationship between diet and chronic disease in Japanese men aged 40 and older.[15] As daily green tea intake increased from less than three, to four to nine, to greater than 10 cups/day, significant increases in serum HDL and decreases in LDL lipoproteins were found. In addition, green tea consumption was found to significantly improve liver profiles, with aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels decreasing significantly with increasing green tea consumption.



The normal amount of green tea consumed by Japanese and other green tea drinking cultures is about three cups daily or about 3 g of soluble components providing roughly 240–320 mg of polyphenols. For a green tea extract standardized for 80% total polyphenol and 55% epigallocatechin gallate content, this would mean a daily dose of 300–400 mg.

Note. When selecting commercial products, it is important to look for the level of epigallocatechin gallate, as well as total polyphenol content.


Green tea is not associated with any significant side-effects or toxicity. As with any caffeine-containing beverage, overconsumption may produce a stimulant effect (nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, etc.).

TABLE 70-1 -- World tea production by type
Type Dry weight (×1000 tons)
Black 1,940
Green 515
Oolong 60
Total 2,515

Pizzorno: Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed., Copyright © 1999 Churchill Livingstone, Inc.

Thanks pbolger. I kinda knew its good for health but is it advisable to drink before a match?

I generally don't advise anything caffinated before a match or tournament.

The quick stimulation is usually quickly followed by a longer down time... so unless you're doing 1 5 minute match (hey, it happens. To me. A lot), it's probly not worth it.