L-Theanine - Matcha Tea's 4000 Year Old Secret

Buddhist Monks have long drank tea for meditation purposes and that tea has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes throughout Asia, primarily China, but does it work? If it does indeed help the mind to focus and have any sort of healing uses, how do we know? Due to the latest healthy lifestyle craze, tea has come into the limelight as a healthy alternative to products such as energy drinks and coffee. Matcha tea specifically and the mix of limited caffeine and L-Theanine, which has been around for over 4,000 years, has tea drinkers and doctors both speculating on how it has been kept such a secret for so long. Matcha is the tea with the highest theanine content out there.

 

When a person drinks tea, it changes certain chemistries in a person’s body that both relax and enhance the ability to concentrate. Although for a long time doctors thought that these effects were caused by caffeine that has been proven to not be the case. It can be argued that the caffeine interacts with the L-Theanine in tea to increase its effects, but the amount of caffeine is so low that it doesn’t make much of a difference. 

L-Theanine by itself decreases both stress and anxiety as well as improves concentration and mood that much science has told us. Consumers say that it helps generate creativity and promotes learning by helping a person to focus on the task at hand and get less distracted. Thankfully, L-Theanine does not leave you with a “crashing” feeling like drinking a cup of coffee or coke that is loaded with caffeine. Keep in mind that theanine has been proven to be more effective when in tea than by taking a supplement, which should be supervised by a doctor.

Researchers have even shown that L-Theanine’s effects on the brain can be seen with an EEg, proving that it relaxes, but doesn’t put you to sleep, no drowsiness. A study in Japan even showed that someone who takes L-Theanine daily will sleep better in the long run, but not longer. Another positive aspect of L-Theanine is that it has been shown to counter the effects of alcohol when consumed prior or after a long night of drinking. How does it do this? By modulating the alcohol’s chemistry, it lowers the alcohol content in the blood.

Want some more theanine positives? L-Theanine increases levels of GABA and dopamine in the brain, which if they are high contribute to anxiety. For patients diagnosed with anxiety, drinking a cup of tea containing L-Theanine could be a way to decrease their anxiety without all the medications. By decreasing anxiety, it also helps the brain to focus and therefore increase test performance. It was debated for some time that the amount of caffeine found would cause an adult student to be agitated, but this was found to not be the case. A balance of L-Theanine and caffeine seems to make all the difference.

Matcha tea has both a small quantity of caffeine and enough L-Theanine that the combination of the two produces many positive effects, plus it is loaded with antioxidants like EGCg. The tea boosts metabolism rates and by doing so increases the amount of calories that the body is burning. It also makes for a good all-natural detoxifier and is high in vitamin C, chromium, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. The tea makes the mind more calm and focused while relaxing the body, which is why it is great for meditation and lowering a person’s blood pressure. Other health benefits include lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. 

When comparing organic Matcha powder to other foods that are touted as being high in antioxidants, this is how they stack up; Matcha comes in at the top of the list followed by goji berries, pomegranate, blueberries, acai berries, broccoli, and spinach. Matcha even contains as much antioxidants as ten cups of brewed green tea! Why are we interested in antioxidants? Because they are labeled as the body’s defense agents that also help protect the body against chronic diseases and aging.


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