You’ve heard green tea is good for you. But beyond the antioxidants and nutrients found in green tea, there’s a powerful amino acid that might actually help your physical and mental wellness… L-theanine.
L-theanine is thought to have calming effects. Since it isn’t likely to make you sluggish, it is sometimes used to ease stress and promote restful sleep.2
Benefits of L-Theanine on Stress
One of the biggest benefits of L-theanine is how it can improve sleep quality. In a recent study, pure L-theanine was shown to improve sleep quality in subjects. Furthermore, the study concluded pure L-theanine has potential to provide beneficial anti-stress effects.3
L-Theanine and Flavor
L-theanine is the ingredient that has the heaviest influence on the flavor of green tea. In Japanese, the flavor is referred to as “umami” — the Japanese term for savory. Again, L-theanine makes up to 50% of the total amino acids in Camellia sinensis — the green tea plant.4
Natural Sources of L-Theanine
L-theanine is naturally found in certain foods and beverages, including:
- Black tea
- White tea
- Green tea
- Bay Bolete Mushrooms
But just how much L-theanine is there in green tea?
Turns out, 50% of the total amino acids in tea come from L-theanine. And the younger the plant, the higher the L-theanine content.
The C. japonica and C. sasanqua plants also contain L-theanine. They are used for tea, but not as often as Camellia sinensis.5
How do Theanine and Caffeine Work Together?
One of the great qualities of L-theanine is that it counteracts some of the negative effects of caffeine, which is likely why some people find even caffeinated green tea to be calming. A recent study explored L-theanine and the effects of caffeine on cognitive performance. Effects on blood pressure, alertness, and heart rate in subjects were also studied.
Blood pressure, cognitive performance, mood, and heart rate were measured. Then L-theanine and caffeine were administered. Turns out, the L-theanine and caffeine combination boosted brain alertness and reduced fatigue. The results suggested L-theanine and caffeine together help focus attention.6
L-Theanine… It’s a No Brainer for your Brain
In the end, if you find you’re stressed, you may want to switch from coffee to green tea.
When it comes to your brain and the health benefits of L-theanine, it seems clear. Go ahead and drink green tea and enjoy feeling alert without feeling stressed out.
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