Green tea is a favorite of mine. I drink it all morning and into the afternoon. I drink it hot and cold. No sugar, no lemon… I take it straight up. I come from a long line of Terry women who drink their tea by the gallon. I joined this distinguished group of women a little over 7 years ago when I decided once, and for all, to kick Diet Dr. Pepper to the curb. Too afraid I would be lured back in by the deceitfully sweet taste of my zero calorie soft drink; I haven’t cracked a can or swigged a sip since I found out I was pregnant with my second child. Unlike my aunts and my mother, I do not drink gallons of tea but nothing gives me more pleasure when I first wake in the early hours of the morning and now I know why.
Green tea calms the nerves. According, to Dr. Weil, “L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea plants, is responsible for the unique flavor of green tea. This compound is said to promote relaxation and modify the stimulating effects of the caffeine present in green tea.”
Even WebMD boasts its promising effects on the brain and body stating, “Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol. A 2013 review of many studies found green tea helped prevent a range of heart-related issues, from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure.” What’s good for the heart is usually good for the brain; your brain needs healthy blood vessels, too. In one Swiss study, “MRIs revealed that people who drank green tea had greater activity in the working-memory area of their brains. Green tea has also been shown to help block the formation of plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”
Remember green tea does contain caffeine and while L-theanine can reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine, it still may rev up those who are sensitive. Different green teas contain varying amounts of caffeine. Easy fix: read your labels before purchasing and buy those with a lower caffeine count. I give my children decaf and regular green tea on occasion and they love it. Green tea alone will not make your anxiety vanish but it is one step towards a calmer you. Bottoms up and don’t forget to share with your children!