The debate has been raging over the years. Some years ago, while our packed schedules and unhealthy food habits were slowly leading us towards chronic stress and related issues, researchers were actively looking for ways and means to control the rising number of stress related disorders. In the course of this research, it was found that the leaves of Camellia Sinensis, rich in flavonoids, acted as strong antioxidants. And Green tea was born (well, not exactly born but discovered).
Believed to be a part of the Japanese culture since the past 5000 years, green tea has quickly made its foray into the Western and European cultures as well primarily due to its proven health benefits. While it is known to cure irregular blood pressure, prevention of stroke and cancer, high cholesterol, boosting the immune system, obesity, and host of other ailments, perhaps the most notable effect of drinking tea is significant reduction in stress levels.
So how does green tea manage that? An active ingredient in green tea is an amino acid called theanine (or L-theanine). It is a calming agent found exclusively in tea leaves and when ingested in the form of green tea tends to turn the brain waves into the alpha range. This is good because when our brain is in the alpha range, we achieve calmness and composure similar to the one achieved after meditation or hot bath. It also enhances the levels of GABA in our brain. GABA, a neurotransmitter is directly connected to the levels of dopamine and serotonin levels and this marriage results in a deep sense of relaxation. Catechins, a type of antioxidant, is also found in these tea leaves through which the body transports glucose to the brain cells. When these cells have adequate amounts of glucose (or any form of sugar), there is a less chance that the brain will get agitated.
So is there something like too much or too less when it comes to consuming tea? Researchers and dietitians believe that anything between 50 to 200 milligram is sufficient to get the desired results. By a rough estimate, each cup of green tea contains 50 mg of theanine and so about 4 cups a day should put you on the path to great health and healing.
There are several variants available in the stores these days and you can easily take your pick. Just make sure that the composition of ingredients is in keeping with the standards set by the food authority in your country.