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Green Tea – How is it Beneficial for Brain Health

Green Tea – How is it Beneficial for Brain Health

Green tea is “true” tea, (i.e. Camellia sinensis), that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing.

More and more researchers are reporting the health benefits of drinking green tea, especially those related to brain function, memory and mood. According to recent studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland, green tea improves brain health particularly working memory.

Green Tea for improved Mental Function

Tea is a widely consumed beverage all over the world, with green tea being a popular drink in most Asian countries. Some studies in Japan have proved the association between green tea consumption and reduced mental impairment. Green tea, being rich in polyphenols and some amounts of caffeine, exerts a protective effect on memory and brain function.

Caffeine, which is one of the key ingredients in green tea and proven to be a stimulant, improves alertness and vigour. Caffeine has been extensively studied and has been found to improve the various aspects of brain health such as improved mood, reaction time and memory.

L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has been shown to have significant anti-stress effects. L-theanine, increases the activity of inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).  GABA may boost mood and have a calming, relaxing effect and relieve anxiety. It also increases the production of dopamine, thus causing a calm state of mind.

Green Tea for Improving Alertness and Performance

Green tea does not contain as much caffeine as coffee and therefore is able to enhance mood and provide relaxation. Along with this L-theanine, the other important compound found in green tea has been reported to improve relaxation and calmness and reduce tension. Both L-theanine and caffeine together have been found to enhance performance in tasks demanding attention and alertness. L-theanine was seen to lead to relaxation and reduce caffeine related arousal.

Therefore, due to the presence of L-theanine and small doses of caffeine, green tea gives much more stable energy and makes one more productive. Both L-theanine and caffeine work together to give the beneficial effects thus improving brain function, enhancing mood, reliving anxiety and increase memory.

The bioactive compounds in green tea, such as ECGC (catechins), have a protective effect on the brain. These may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which are the main cause of dementia in old age. So, green tea not only improves brain function, it also protects the neurons (brain cell) from degenerating in old age.

Now the main question is how much green tea one should consume for it to confer the good effects and be within safer limits:

Researches show that as much as 4-5 cups of green tea can be consumed in a day. Adding Lemon and honey enhance its protective properties and increase the bioavailability of important compounds.

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