Green Tea and Mental Health
Most of us know by now that drinking green tea can be incredibly beneficial to our health, but few of us know just how important it can be. One of the areas that people may not be so aware of is the benefits that green tea can have in relation to mental health (stress, depression and similar conditions), and surprisingly, it can be quite effective.
Several studies have looked at the relationship between green tea and mental health, largely thanks to the acknowledgement that drinking green tea can induce a positive mental state. Scientists wanted to take this one step further to see whether this can be scientifically proven, and if so why this is the case.
One such study was published in Biological Psychology in 2006. It looked at the effects that L-Theanine (a chemical found in green tea) had on stress, and found that oral consumption of this chemical could significantly improve the anti-stress response. This seems to indicate that drinking green tea could help to improve the way we react to stress and could help to reduce our overall stress levels.
The fact that green tea contains L-Theanine could make it useful in another area – the treatment of ADHD. ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a condition usually associated with children and means that they find it hard to concentrate, focus and even sleep properly. L-Theanine can help to improve children’s symptoms as it has a calming effect, with people in Japan having used green tea as a particularly effective ADHD treatment for decades.
More studies need to be carried out to confirm its effectiveness in this area, but one that is currently underway is being conducted by Dr. Lyon and colleagues at the Canadian Centre for Functional Medicine. In the study, boys with ADHD are being given Theanine supplements to see if it has an effect, and although the results aren’t published yet the findings so far seem to be promising, with Lyon noting that after administering the supplement the children start to calm down and can sleep better.
Other studies have looked at green tea in relation to depression and psychological distress. One of these, conducted in Japan, had 1,058 elderly Japanese individuals as participants. It looked at (among other things) green tea consumption and overall levels of depressive symptoms, and the findings indicated that increased and frequent consumption of green tea was associated with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms in the individuals studied.
Another Japanese study, this time with 42,093 participants, supported these findings. They found that consumption of green tea significantly improves psychological well-being, and that drinking 5 cups per day can actually reduce the incidence of psychological distress by up to 20%.
All of these studies suggest that drinking green tea regularly can have a marked effect on the incidence of depression, stress and other psychological disorders. But why is this? In a lot of cases it seems to be the chemicals that are found in green tea, but a lot of people argue that it’s the antioxidants found in it that can also have such an astounding effect.
Whatever the reasons, the fact is that drinking green tea really can be beneficial to our mental health. Drinking it regularly can help to improve our stress responses, can reduce depressive symptoms and psychological distress, and can even be used as a safe and effective way to treat ADHD. So, make sure to include green tea in your daily diet and see if it can help to improve your psychological well-being.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”