A warm cup of tea is not only enjoyable, but also soothing. Plus, it has wonderful benefits for our body – and now for our mental health. Tea did not just soar in popularity yesterday; in fact, it has been around for several centuries. Legend has it that it was accidentally discovered around 2700 BC in China. It is one of the most consumed drinks around the world for those wanting to boost metabolism or a caffeine kick without java.
Mental Health Benefits of Tea
The term “tea” is quite broad and can be applied to various infusions of flowers, fruits, leaves, or herbs. But the true tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis. Drinking tea contains several antioxidants, phytochemicals, catechins, and polyphenols – all of which are associated with boosted metabolism and cancer prevention. But aside from that, these healthy compounds may also be beneficial for cognitive and brain health.
Caffeine is considered a brain booster and is naturally found in teas. The effects are almost instant:
- Increased alertness
- Improved attention or focus
Unfortunately, the stimulant’s effects can subside as quickly as they start. But there’s a unique compound in tea known as L-Theanine, which is an amino acid. What it does is it relaxes the drinker, but doesn’t induce drowsiness. Together, L-Theanine and caffeine can boost focus, reduce mental fatigue, and improve working memory and reaction time. Drinking tea for a specific time (for example 16 weeks) can help improve memory and cognition.
More Brain Health Benefits
Caffeine and L-Theanine aren’t just the compounds in tea that can have a positive effect on brain function. Tea also has catechins, which may provide a number of mental benefits, including:
- Prevention of cognitive dysfunction
- Encouragement of positive changes in the brain for those who are at risk of mental diseases
- Better memory
A specific catechin called theogallin, when tested with L-Theanine was discovered to be anti-depressive and cognitive-boosting. Another study also showed that the combination can improve attention – and that’s without caffeine.
Green tea is considered very helpful when it comes to our brain function. The antioxidants can prevent cognitive impairment, while catechins can slow down brain aging that is related to stress, according to a 2006 study. Gingko biloba is a known supplement, but you can also use it as an herbal tea. It is recommended to take 240 milligrams of the herb daily to boost memory and cognition, especially in middle aged people.