Updated: Aug 6, 2019
To get ready to deal with the chaos at work, you probably will grab a cup of coffee to jump-start your day. The caffeine in your coffee has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system that produces an alert state with increased energy and focus which, in appropriate amounts, has real health benefits. Now, imagine getting the right amount of caffeine with all its energy-boosting benefits and having that work synergistically with another bioactive compound that keeps you calm. I am sure you would like that, right? You are mentally alert, yet relaxed. It is what a cup of tea does to you.
Tea has both caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine. Studies have shown that the consumption of L-theanine leads to increased alpha waves in the brain responsible for inducing a state of relaxation and mental alertness. Combined with caffeine, L-theanine balances the stimulation of caffeine and neutralizes its jittery and edgy effects.
This compound also increases levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that plays several important roles in the brain and body. To appreciate better what dopamine does, just imagine having low levels of it. You will probably be experiencing fatigue, lack of motivation, memory loss, inability to concentrate, sleep problems and hopelessness. Having increased levels then can improve your overall sense of well-being.
It may all sound too complicated once you get technical about the effects of L-theanine, so let us just keep it simple. Drinking tea leads to a state similar to what one achieves when meditating. You are very calm and very focused. No wonder monks have consumed tea for centuries, and even played a major role in growing and making it, spreading the habit of drinking it and transforming its preparation into an art.
Next time you want to find the calm amid all the chaos, consider brewing and drinking tea.
References: The Everything Healthy Tea Book, Babette Donaldson; Cancer Hates Tea: A Unique Preventive and Transformative Lifestyle Change to Help Crush Cancer, Maria Uspenski