You might already know that your daily cup of tea is good for your body, and there are literally thousands of articles on this topic, but what might surprise you is that it can also be good for your brain.
This month I delve into the science behind the leaf and share even more reasons why you can feel virtuous when enjoying your daily cup of tea.
Here are three ways drinking tea can be good for your brain:
1) Drinking tea mindfully can help to retrain your brain
Neuroscience shows us that regularly practising mindfulness – i.e. giving a single activity your full, undivided attention without any judgement – can retrain your brain to be more calm, present, content, creative, focused and productive and less stressed. (1,2)
As a tea drinker, you will likely have at least one cup of tea each day, making it an easy way to introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. In last month’s blog I wrote about this topic, so take a look and find out how to integrate the brain-boosting practice of mindfulness into your daily tea ritual.
2) The clever combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves brain function
L-theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea. It has been shown to increase alpha waves in the brain, improving cognitive performance and mental focus as well as inducing a state of calm (3). Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that boosts wakefulness, improves our mood and enhances how focused and alert we feel.
But is the combination of L-theanine and caffeine found in tea that has a powerful effect, as scientists believe they work together to improve brain function, making us feel calmer, more alert and content.
L-theanine is also believed to be the reason why we can feel less jittery after a cup of tea than a cup of coffee as it counteracts some of the effects of caffeine (that and the fact that there is less caffeine in tea than coffee).
3) Green tea may reduce the risk of developing a cognitive disease
Two of the most common neurodegenerative disorders in the world are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (4)
Green tea contains the powerful antioxidant Epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and through several tea research projects, scientists believe this and the amino acid L-theanine can have protective benefits on the brain and may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (5, 6)
Research on health and happiness also shows that strong relationships and feeling part of a community are important contributors to a healthy and happy life (7,8). A big pot of tea is the perfect reason to bring people together so why not invite a good friend around this weekend for a cuppa and know you’re doing your brain, your body and your happiness a great service.
> Read more: '5 facts you might not know about tea'
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1). Harvey, Shannon. (2016) The Whole Health Life, Australia. Print
2). Hofstee, Dr Chantal. (2016). Mindfulness on the Run. New Zealand. Print
3, 4, 5). Keating, Brian R. Long, Kim. (2015). How to Make Tea; The Science behind the Leaf. Lewes. Print.
6). www.healthline.com. (17 January 2018). 10 proven benefits of green tea.
7). Freakonomics Radio. (16 August 2018). How to be happy. Podcast.
8). Waldinger, Dr. Robert. (25 January 2016). What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness. Ted Talk.
The lovely image above is courtesy of Drew Coffman @ Upsplash