Green Tea Benefits

Green Tea Brain Benefits

Key Takeaways

Green Tea Brain-Boosting Benefits

EGCG

EGCG acts as a brain guardian, offering anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective benefits for optimal brain performance and health.

L-theanine

L-theanine acts as a brain guardian, shielding against neuronal death, reducing stress, and promoting optimal brain function.

Caffeine

Caffeine enhances alertness, while L-theanine moderates its stimulating effects, reducing anxiety and promoting better sleep quality. 

What is Green Tea

Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant is native to East Asia, and its leaves and leaf buds are used to produce various types of teas, including green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. The primary difference in these teas lies in their processing: green tea comes from unoxidized leaves and is one of the least processed types of tea. As a result, it retains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.

The Camellia sinensis plant is known for its rich concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, particularly catechins, responsible for many of the health benefits associated with green tea. These antioxidants can help in reducing inflammation and fighting various diseases.

Green tea has been appreciated for thousands of years, especially in China. The cultivation and consumption of green tea have since spread to other parts of Asia and the world, making it a globally recognized and valued herb for its health benefits and cultural significance.

Let’s dive into why green tea is the best treat for your brain.

EGCE's Brain Benefits

EGCG is a fancy name for a unique compound in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate. This magical compound is like a superhero for your body, especially your brain, offering anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging benefits. So, when you enjoy green tea, you're treating your brain to a spa day!

Imagine EGCG as your brain's shield. Being an antioxidant, it fights off free radicals, the troublemakers that speed up aging and bring on diseases [1]. Since our brains are oxygen-rich zones, keeping them safe from damage is crucial for top-notch brain performance. EGCG steps in like a brain guardian, improving memory and focus and putting you in a relaxed but attentive mood [2].

When free radicals attack the brain, they can cause inflammation, the early sign of trouble. Luckily, EGCG has anti-inflammatory powers, stopping these harmful processes in their tracks and ensuring your brain stays healthy and works at its best [3].

EGCG has neuroprotective properties, which can be beneficial for brain health. It increases cell viability and may help in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease [4].

L-theanine's Brain Benefits

L-theanine, found in green tea, is a remarkable compound that enhances brain function. It elevates performance in complex tasks, augments levels of dopamine and serotonin, and bolsters memory. Research further reveals that L-theanine boosts attention by amplifying alpha wave activity in the brain [5].

Acting as a guardian for the brain's neurological centers, L-theanine shields against neuronal death, mitigates anxiety and stress, and wards off neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Consuming green tea imbued with L-theanine ensures your brain remains vigilant yet stress-free [6].

Poor brain function often stems from inadequate sleep, subpar nutrition, and excessive stress and anxiety. L-theanine intervenes by regulating brain activity, ensuring ample rejuvenation during sleep [7]. This equilibrium of calmness and alertness tackles complex tasks and promotes clearer thinking without succumbing to overwhelm.

Caffeine's Brain Benefits

Caffeine is a stimulant that increases activity in the brain and nervous system, enhancing alertness and reducing tiredness. It works primarily by blocking adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. This blocking effect prevents adenosine from making you sleepy and increases wakefulness.

Caffeine increases the circulation of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, contributing to heightened concentration, mood, and cognitive functioning [8].

However, caffeine alone can cause undesirable side effects. It is like a party crasher. It sneaks into your body, takes the place of adenosine, and wakes you up. But when the caffeine leaves, all the adenosine that's been piling up hits you like a wave, and bam – that's the caffeine crash.

Green tea, however, uniquely combines caffeine, catechins, and L-theanine.

L-theanine resembles GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces nervous system excitability, offering similar calming effects. L-theanine doesn't induce sleepiness like other anti-stress herbs and moderates caffeine's stimulating effects [9]. This green tea combination may explain why many people experience reduced anxiety and better sleep quality. Research confirms that L-theanine lessens anxiety and helps manage high blood pressure [10].

For those seeking caffeine's stimulating effects, it's interesting to note that combining caffeine with L-theanine enhances cognitive functions such as quicker reaction and calculation times, better sentence understanding, and heightened alertness, more so than caffeine alone [11].

In one study, participants drinking water with L-theanine reached a state of relaxed alertness, indicated by alpha brain waves, in half the time it took those drinking plain water. This effect underscores why green tea has been a staple for Japanese monks and samurai since the 12th century [12].

Other Notable Antioxidants

Beyond the well-known EGCG, green tea houses numerous antioxidants that elevate dopamine levels and shield the brain from harmful neurotoxins. Ongoing global studies aim to delve deeper into the distinct attributes of these antioxidants.

The polyphenols in green tea are crucial in regulating glucose levels within the brain, ensuring the smooth functioning of cognitive activities [13].

Furthermore, the tannins found in green tea aid in DNA repair and act as protectors, particularly in preventing neuron death, especially during events like strokes. These diverse attributes underline green tea's potential as a beverage beyond refreshment, offering benefits for cognitive health.

Conclusion

Green tea is more than just a soothing beverage – it's a natural tonic for brain health. With its potent blend of antioxidants, polyphenols, and tannins, green tea becomes a reliable ally in promoting optimal brain function. From enhancing cognitive activities to safeguarding against neurotoxins and contributing to DNA repair, green tea stands out as a simple yet powerful elixir for a sharper, more resilient mind.

Additional Readings

You May Also Like

5 Science-backed Benefits of Guayusa Tea

L-theanine: Unlocking Calm And Focus For A Sharper Mind

The Wonders of Matcha Green Tea

References

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696481/

[2]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711317300867

[3]https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-016-0179-4

[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7570631/

[5]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464611000351

[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/

[7]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25759004/

[8]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1356551/

[9]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18641209/

[10]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8794723/

[11]Frontiers | Measuring the Effects of Caffeine and L-Theanine on Cognitive Performance: A Protocol for Self-Directed, Mobile N-of-1 Studies (frontiersin.org)

[12]https://cir.nii.ac.jp/crid/1390282679484100736?lang=en

[13]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3372091/

Back to blog