Almost everyone needs a refresh button in the morning to get them away from the morning blues and boost them up for a brand new day.
It is crucial that you start the day with a smile on your face, bursting with mental as well as physical energy to avoid letting the day drift by you.
Although a healthy breakfast provides you with the requisite physical energy to begin your day with, it doesn’t provide you with the mental boost required to shrug off laziness and focus on accomplishing your goals for the day.
A cup of invigorating tea can do that for you and much more.
Tea has been proven to have a glut of mental health benefits, boosting your brain to shoot up your productivity.
Tea is rich in antioxidants, plant polyphenols, catechins and other phytochemicals which along with fighting diseases like cancer and boosting your metabolism, also benefit your brain and cognitive health.
The list of tea facts pertaining to improving your health is a long one.
So let’s begin with it.
Theanine (L-theanine) is a unique amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant camellia sinensis.
It is known to trigger alpha waves in the brain, usually only achieved by meditation.
These alpha waves induce a feeling of relaxation without drowsiness, reducing stress and providing the famous calming effect of tea.
Like coffee, tea also contains caffeine albeit in lesser amounts.
The effects of caffeine are well-known, it immediately enhances wakefulness, attention, reaction time and alertness after consumption.
The crash in energy levels and mood that you experience soon after drinking coffee doesn’t happen after tea consumption courtesy of the less amount of caffeine in tea combined with the relaxation effect of theanine.
Theanine negates caffeine’s stimulatory effects and aids in enhancing memory, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress and reducing the risk of dementia.
As mentioned above, theanine induces alpha waves in your brain related to relaxation, whereas caffeine incites attention and alertness.
This potent combination keeps you concentrated on your work while you multitask your chores to completion.
Long work hours or the sheer multitude of tasks at hand can easily dwindle your focus and decrease your output, playing spoilsport with your work and subsequently the whole day.
According to a research in the Journal of Neuropharmacology, the same combo of caffeine and theanine can also combat fatigue and keep you working at peak concentration.
This is the reason why tea has been the preferred drink for monks requiring focus and concentration, before beginning a long phase of meditation.
According to research, the high levels of theanine in tea may lead to a decrease in anxiety and support a balanced mood.
Also, a study published in the Motivation and Emotion journal stated that theanine may aid in creative problem-solving.
Besides the brain-boosting effects of Theanine and caffeine, tea also contains various catechins which have a positive influence on the brain.
A tea catechin named Theogallin has been shown to have anti-depressive and cognitive enhancing effects when tested in combination with Theanine.
Another study, this time conducted on humans, indicated that the Theanine and Theogallin combination leads to an improvement in attention.
Matcha, a tea primarily grown in Japan and China, has become quite a craze these days in the food industry owing to its metabolism-enhancing, immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering and stress-reducing effects on our body.
Everything ranging from matcha teas, lattes, shots and even desserts are lined up in stores everywhere.
Matcha has a rich history in Japan and is an important part of Japanese culture with tea ceremonies being conducted as a cultural activity, involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha tea.
Matcha tea, basically, is a type of green tea and comes from the common tea plant Camellia sinensis.
However, it is different in two aspects of farming and processing than the regular green tea.
The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown (covered from sunlight) for around three weeks before harvest and the veins and stems are taken out in processing.
As a result of the shaded growth, the plant produces more chlorophyll than normal tea plants, the amino acid content is enhanced and a darker green color is attained.
The leaves of this green tea plants are then hand-picked, steamed, dried and stone-ground into a fine green powder replete with all the health benefits, ready to be dissolved in a liquid (water, milk) and consumed.
As matcha is made from ground up whole tea leaves, it comprises of the nutrients from the entire tea leaf which leads to a higher amount of antioxidants and caffeine as compared to normal green tea.
Research centered around matcha and its ingredients have brought to light an array of health benefits.
Here are the perks of matcha tea related to the brain along with other health benefits:
Matcha has all the mental health benefits of tea and green tea along with much more.
Matcha contains a more concentrated amount of caffeine than green tea, consisting of 35 mg of caffeine per gram of matcha powder.
The caffeine in matcha tea acts differently than that found in other teas and coffee.
The caffeine in matcha tea attaches to the catechins and is released into the bloodstream at a slow pace as the catechins are broken down.
This provides the drinker with a sustained flow of energy rather than short bursts of high energy followed by lows.
This effect along with that of theanine leads to a reduced impact of the caffeine crash.
Matcha is awash with health-boosting compounds, including some which are known to aid in cancer prevention according to test-tube and animal studies.
It particularly has high levels of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a type of catechin that has been proven to be a strong anti-carcinogen.
Test-tube studies have shown that EGCG is effective against liver, lung and skin cancer and helps in killing prostate cancer cells.
Matcha tea possesses insane amounts of antioxidants.
It contains 6.2 times antioxidants that of goji berries, 7x that of dark chocolate, 17x that of wild blueberries and 60.5x that of spinach.
One cup of matcha tea is equivalent to 10 cups of regular tea when it comes to antioxidants.
As reported by a study published in the Journal of Chromatography, matcha contains up to 137x the amount of EGCG found in traditional Chinese green tea.
Matcha is especially a rich source of antioxidants called polyphenols.
Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory effects on your body, protecting against serious health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.
Polyphenols also have anti-aging properties and improve blood sugar regulation in the body.
Regular intake of matcha tea can boost the antioxidant levels in your body, protecting you from the advent of several chronic diseases.
Green tea is renowned for its weight loss enhancing properties.
Research has shown that green tea helps rev up your metabolism to increase energy spending and boost fat loss.
According to a study, consuming green tea increases thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure.
Another study showed that exercising immediately after drinking matcha tea results in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
Despite the fact that the majority of these studies were based on green tea extract, matcha originates from the same plant and should effectively make the same impact.
This beneficial impact could perhaps be on a much larger scale as matcha is made from the entire leaf, making it a more concentrated source of antioxidants and favorable plant compounds than normal green tea.
Matcha green tea leaves are abundant in easily absorbable dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber in our diet helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels and easing constipation.
The liver is responsible for flushing out toxins from the body, processing nutrients and metabolizing drugs.
Some research studies have come to the conclusion that matcha may aid in protecting the health of your liver.
The chlorophyll in tea leaves removes harmful toxins and heavy metals from your body.
Matcha green tea has the most detoxifying effect of teas as it is grown in the shade and is made from the powder of whole tea leaves, unlike that of other plants where the leaves are thrown away once the tea is prepared.
Chlorophyll also has antibacterial properties and assists in balancing pH levels in the blood.
Your cup of tea, especially matcha tea, is blessed with an assortment of mental health benefits along with other benefits that can boost your daily productivity and help you in achieving your goals.
So make tea a staple in your diet and let the tea benefits enhance your mental health and transform your life from that of a stressed one to a happy smiling one.