Tea, coffee’s older, more sage has survived the wave of trendy new drinks that we’ve seen come and gone. And yes, there have been exciting new twists on tea lately on its own is still a popular beverage – the most popular drink in the world, bar water of course.
But aside from being older than coffee, millions of drinkers have a reason why it’s their chosen cup of poison.
It’s two-fold effects benefits both the mind and body to achieve the state of Zen.
EGCG: For the body
Tea, regardless if it’s black, green, yellow, or white is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants that fight against free radicals.
Let’s take matcha green tea for example.
Its main polyphenol is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which was found out in a study that its concentration is three times greater than regular green tea. But how does this impact your health? What are free radicals anyway?
If you can still remember high school chemistry, atoms are surrounded by electrons that orbit in layers called shells. The inner shell has a required number of electrons per shell that needs to be met before going into the next layer.
When an atom has incomplete atoms in its outer shell, they go rogue and bond with other atoms (“oxidation”) to complete the needed electrons.
When certain parts of a cell are oxidized, it fails to function normally and when enough functions are impaired, the cell dies. These microscopic events can have serious ramifications to your health, from aging, cancer to Parkinson’s disease.
This is where antioxidants come in. Known as “free radical scavengers” they seek free radicals and neutralize them by donating an electron before it oxides other atoms. Once the shells are filled, it stabilizes and stops being toxic to cells.
The abundance of antioxidants can benefit your health in the following ways:
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, the whole lot of them: breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, ovarian, liver, prostate, head and neck, and oral
- It may support heart health by alleviating the risk factors of heart disease – reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and the accumulation of plaque in the blood.
- Promotes weight loss, especially if taken in conjunction with the caffeine in tea.
- Recent research suggests that EGCG plays a role in improving neurological cell function and preventing degenerative brain disease. There’s also a link found between a higher intake of green tea and the reduced risk of age-related brain degeneration along with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
L-theanine: For the mind
What makes tea amazing is that it does so by doing much for your body, it does amazing things for the mind. The L-theanine amino acid is found in both green and black tea. It’s found in a limited amount of food, mostly tea and mushrooms.
By influencing nerve impulses in the brain, it causes the release of hormones that bring a sense of calm over you. It’s recommended that your drink tea if you want to improve your mental focus but specifically it improves the entirety of your mental health:
- You’ll sleep better. During the metabolism of l-theanine, it encourages your brain to produce more alpha waves and reduce beta waves, which keeps your head clear so it’s easier for you to relax and fall into sleep.
- Have you been offered a cup of warm tea to “help you relax”? There’s an actual scientific study conducted on this, the results of which lead the researchers to conclude that it’s not a placebo effect. Rather, l-theanine reduces a person’s resting heart rate to bring about the feeling of relaxation.
- Increased cognitive performance. L-theanine on its own can improve a person’s attention span and reaction time. Together with caffeine (which tea also possesses), it keeps you focused and alert which can lead to the improvement in number skills.
- Lose weight. The physical wellness bought by l-theanine is its ability to curb hunger and prolong the feeling of satiation. The result of eating less will lead to weight loss.