Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. It originated in Southwest China thousands of years ago. At that time, people drank tea for medicinal purposes.
Although it is no longer used as a medicine, people all around the world are still consuming tea. In the United States alone, 80 percent of households have tea in their kitchens. Around half of Americans drink tea on a regular basis.
People drink tea for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy the pleasing aroma, while others drink tea to rehydrate. Additionally, tea is full of beneficial antioxidants.
But what about anxiety? Can drinking tea help you feel calmer? The answer is: yes, tea might have some anti-stress effects.
In a 2017 study, researchers gave low-caffeine green tea to one group of students, and a placebo to another. The green tea group experienced a reduction in stress . Another Japanese study found that matcha green tea can reduce anxiety in mice .
Here, we’ll explore some of the ingredients in tea that promote relaxation and help with anxiety. We’ll also list the three types of teas that are best after a stressful day.
Why is tea good for anxiety?
There is one ingredient in tea that seems to play a significant role in its anti-stress effects. That ingredient is L-theanine.
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L-theanine & Anxiety
L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves. It may have several health benefits like relaxation, cognitive focus, and better sleep . You can only get L-theanine from dietary sources like tea or supplements.
All of these factors might explain why L-theanine can be beneficial for anxiety. They might also explain why drinking tea helps you feel good after a stressful day.
Which types of teas are the best for anxiety?
There are many different kinds of teas with various health benefits. But here we will only discuss ones that contain L-theanine and have been shown to help with anxiety.
The primary tea variants that contain adequate amounts of L-theanine so that they reliably help with anxiety symptoms & relaxation are:
- Green Tea: Tazo Zen Green Tea
- Matcha Green Tea: Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder
- Oolong Tea: VAHDAM High Mountain Darjeeling Oolong Tea
- Black Tea: Zest Tea Blue Lady Black Tea
Let’s dig deeper into these different varieties of teas and better understand their benefits for anxiety.
People have been drinking green tea for centuries in the East. But recently, it has been gaining in popularity in the West as well. People all around the world have begun to catch on to green tea’s therapeutic effects.
Green tea can promote heart health, cognitive function, lower cholesterol, and better skin, to name a few benefits. And although it contains caffeine, it’s not as much as coffee. A typical brewed cup of coffee of 8oz/237ml typically contains 95-165mg of caffeine, whereas the same size cup of green tea would contain 25-29mg of caffeine. This makes green tea a perfect drink for those looking for a cognitive boost without the jitters.
When it comes to anxiety, there is evidence to suggest that green tea can help, as well. A 2017 review of studies found several cognitive benefits. The studies showed that regular green tea consumption reduced anxiety. It also improved memory and attention .
Originally from Japan, matcha green tea has also become widely popular as of late. It comes from the same plant as green tea, but it is grown differently.
Farmers leave the matcha plants covered for a few weeks to avoid direct sunlight. This unique technique gives a matcha a boost in its amino acid content.
After matcha is harvested, the stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are finely ground into matcha powder.
Matcha packs higher levels of L-theanine than regular green tea. But it also contains more caffeine than regular green tea. People typically consume matcha in smaller amounts for a quick boost in calming energy.
Note that to use matcha green tea powder and make a delicious beverage from it, you will need a matcha whisk, scoop and some other parts. We recommend the BAMBOOWORX matcha tea making set.
Similar to green tea, oolong is another traditional Chinese tea. The difference is that oolong tea is oxidized longer than green tea, which gives it a different aroma and color.
Nonetheless, oolong tea packs similar health benefits to green tea. It supports heart health and may help you maintain stable blood sugar levels.
When it comes to anxiety, oolong tea may have benefits as well. There isn’t as much research behind oolong tea when compared to green tea. But we do know oolong contains L-theanine. So, we can assume it has a calming effect similar to green tea.
Black tea comes from the same plant as green tea and oolong tea. But it is allowed to oxidize the longest and also has the most robust flavor.
Like the others, black tea has similar health benefits. It can support heart health and lower bad cholesterol. Black tea can also help you maintain stable blood pressure.
Black tea also packs a healthy dose of L-theanine. One study even found that it may have more L-theanine than green tea . However, it is only one study, and the results should not be taken as conclusive evidence. You’ll get a decent amount of L-theanine from both black and green teas, assuming you drink it regularly.
Final thoughts on tea and anxiety
Tea is an ancient beverage that has been consumed for centuries around the world, often for its therapeutic effects. More recently, we’ve come to learn about its potential benefits for those suffering from anxiety.
L-theanine, an amino acid, seems to play a significant role in tea’s relaxing effects. It can also boost cognitive performance, help you perform calmly in stressful situations and even help improve the sleep quality.
As far as which tea you should go with, it depends on your preference. Green tea has the most research behind it, but oolong and black tea come from the same plant. You should try the different varieties and pick the one you like best. You will get the most benefits from tea if you drink it consistently.
If you’re looking for something to replace coffee, matcha green tea might be the closest alternative.
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Products mentioned in this article
- Tazo Zen Green Tea Bags for an invigorating cup of green tea Zen Tea helps you feel focused and zen 20 count pack of 6
- Jade Leaf Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder - Authentic Japanese Origin - Premium Second Harvest Culinary Grade (3.53 Ounce)
- BambooWorx Japanese Tea Set, Matcha Whisk (Chasen), Traditional Scoop (Chashaku), Tea Spoon, The Perfect Set to Prepare a Traditional Cup of Matcha.
- VAHDAM, High Mountain Oolong Tea Leaves from Himalayas (50 Cups), 3.53oz, OOLONG TEA FOR WEIGHT LOSS, 100% Detox Tea, Weight Loss Tea, Slimming Tea - Brew Hot, Iced, Kombucha Tea | Loose Leaf Tea
- Zest Tea Premium Energy Hot Tea, High Caffeine Blend Natural & Healthy Traditional Black Coffee Substitute, Perfect for Keto, 150 mg Caffeine per Serving, Blue Lady Black Tea, Tin of 15 Sachet Bags
- Suntheanine® L-Theanine 200mg (Double-Strength) in Cold-Pressed Organic Coconut Oil; Non-GMO & Gluten Free - 60 Liquid Softgels
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