The colloquial definition of stress is the presence of a discomfort, be it physical or mental. Biologically, a stressor is something that causes the alteration of physiological parameters outside their normal range. The resulting stress reaction is the body’s attempt to return the parameters to the normal range. Physical stress is no longer a real problem for most people living in Western nations. Mental stress has replaced physical stress as a cause of disease and premature death.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Stress is generally a good thing is small amounts because it causes adaptation and trains the body to improve. However, too much stress can overload the body’s ability to cope. When stressors are applied to the body, the brain signals the release of adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are required to cause the breakdown of energy for the body and to provide reserves when times are hard. However, too much stress causes levels to increase and this can disrupt health.
Tea Fights Stress
Most people know the comfort that a cup of tea can provide. In fact sweet tea is often the first thing given to people who have experienced physical and mental trauma. The reason that tea in beneficial at decreasing stress is because it lowers levels of anxiety that can result from stressful situations. In this way tea has a calming effect. It is no coincidence that buddhist monks use green tea as a prelude to meditation because of its calming effects.
Tea contains caffeine and other methylxanthines that are stimulants. It is surprising then that it causes relaxation because coffee is known to increase anxiety levels. The reason that teat can calm the body is because it contains a compound called L-theanine. This amino acid has been shown to be absorbed from tea, where it enters the brain. Here it increases the output of alpha waves, the form of brain waves associated with relaxation.
Black Or Green, It Doesn’t Matter
Both black and green tea contain L-theanine. However, some evidence suggests that black tea contains more L-theanine than green tea. This doesn’t mean that black tea is better, because both contain enough L-theanine to increase alpha brain waves. If you do however choose black tea as a source of L-theanine, don’t add sugar. Sigar is a cause of obesity and should be avoided if optimum health is to be maintained.