Green tea has been a popular drink in the Eastern cultures since ancient times, where it is served as a refreshing, thirst quenching beverage, but also as a ritual drink with lots of spiritual meaning and tradition attached to it. These rituals are specific for the Chinese, Arab and Indian cultures where tea plays many roles in social communication and religion besides being a tasty drink. Unlike black tea, green tea processing involves minimal alteration of tea leaves during preparation, which preserves its natural qualities and healthy, biochemically active components. Green tea has become very popular in the Western cultures and for a good reason.
The Positive Influence of Green Tea on Your Physical Health
Although green tea has hundreds of active components that provide health benefits, only a few of them have clinically proven effects that were tested during research studies. Green tea is especially rich in antioxidants, which is a class of substances that protect your body and vital organs against oxidative stress and against reactive oxygen species that may damage the DNA located in every cell and cause the development of cancer. The most prominent antioxidant found in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which, according to a Mayo Clinic study, has the ability to inhibit cancer growth and stop the progression of certain forms of leukemia.
The antioxidants found in green tea have the capacity to reduce “bad” cholesterol, which is LDL, and increase the amount of “good” cholesterol, also known as HDL. Micronutrients contained in green tea also protect the walls of the arteries located in the heart muscle and brain from damage and formation of atheroma plaques, which may disrupt an efficient blood flow with dramatic consequences for one’s cardiovascular and brain health. This is the mechanism in which drinking green tea contributes to the prevention of heart disease and considerably diminishes the probability of a stroke, which can result in permanent, disabling brain damage. Although there is no direct clinical evidence yet, several small studies conducted independently have shown that regular green tea consumption can lower blood sugar and therefore prevent the progression of diabetes. It may help regular green tea consumers avoid its complications, which may consist in nerve damage (neuropathy) or vision impairment (retinopathy).
The Impact of Theanine and Caffeine on Your Cognitive Abilities and Mental Focus
Scientists were also interested in the psychoactive properties of green tea. In other words, they investigated how green tea consumption or taking its active components as supplements influence brain function. It was found that green tea contains two major biochemical components with notable psychoactive effects, theanine and caffeine, which have a well established positive impact on the function of the central nervous system. In green tea, caffeine is found in significantly smaller amounts when compared to its concentration in coffee, which means that there is no risk for excessive stimulation of the brain, high blood pressure or insomnia associated with regular green tea consumption. In fact, caffeine in moderate quantities stimulates the metabolism and caloric consumption, facilitating an adequate weight management, and it also stimulates the function of brain cells, especially in areas responsible for working memory and reasoning, which translates into a considerably increased mental concentration and enhanced problem-solving skills.
Theanine is another natural substance found in green tea that has some wonderful properties. Unlike caffeine, which may cause some degree restlessness or anxiety if ingested in excessive quantities, theanine has a different type of stimulation effect on your brain. It improves alertness and intellectual capacity of the brain through a better mental focus, but at the same time it protects against stress and induces a relaxing effect. It is believed that theanine accomplishes this unique effect through a gentle modulation of the electrical activity of the brain, which results in a moderate stimulation of memory and executive function of the central nervous system while at the same time inducing calming effects in the brain areas responsible for stress response and anxiety.
To make sure that you benefit from the full range of positive mental effects associated with green tea, you are encouraged to drink freshly prepared green tea on a regular basis or consult with your doctor and discuss the utility of L-Theanine or caffeine containing nootropic supplements. Drinking a cup of freshly prepared green tea every day allows you to obtain a wide range of benefits for your bodily health and mental wellbeing, which may enhance various aspects of your career and social life.