On the most basic level, the human nervous system has two states of stress response: sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest, relax and digest).
The fight or flight stress response is your body’s way of responding to any kind of imminent threat, protecting you and saving your life.The rest, relax, digest response is our thrive state and supports our natural drive to heal and function well, encouraging good digestion, a strong immune system and restful sleep.
We are designed to move with ease between these two responses as and when necessary.
But unfortunately in our modern lives we spend a lot of time worrying about perceived threats or potential problems and our nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between these emotional triggers and true imminent physical threats, so we can get stuck in the chronic stress mode which can lead to serious health problems.
How does tea have these anti-stress effects?
The tea plant is known as a tonic plant or adaptogen as it works to build our natural resilience by helping us ‘adapt’ and respond more favourably to stress, whether internal or environmental.
These teas contains an array of healthful nutrients, most notably a unique amino acid called L-Theanine, thought to be the key ingredient in these anti-stress effects.
Found to reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) from the blood and increase alpha brain wave activity, the nutrients in the tea can help return us more quickly to a state of calm wakefulness (our rest, relax, digest response) improving cognition and attention. L-Theanine is found to cross the blood brain barrier and regulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the body, improving our mood and productivity and balancing our perspective by synchronising the activity of both the left and right brain hemispheres.
Find out about tea and caffeine.