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High Fives for Green Tea

Researchers Say Five Cups of Green Tea Reduces Stress Levels

Stress reduction can now be added to the many benefits of green tea consumption.

Stress reduction can now be added to the many benefits of green tea consumption.

If you’re at all fascinated by numbers and whether or not they’re lucky or unlucky, the number five is right up there with the number seven in signaling prosperity.  Let me explain what I mean…

Earlier this year, I wrote about a study out of Japan that found that drinking five cups of green tea per day reduced the risk of getting various forms of cancer by 50 percent.

Two months later, and out comes another green tea study showing improved health with five cups per day.  What kind of better health?  Reduced stress levels.

Stress is sort of like death and taxes:  there’s no avoiding it.  Whether it’s something as simple as a worrying over a test, or something more serious like worrying about a loved one serving in the military, stress complicates life and complicates our health.  It’s so serious, in fact, that it can significantly increases the risk for chronic heart disease when not kept in check.  That’s where green tea comes in.

Now, the notion that green tea can relieve stress symptoms is nothing new.  Nor is the notion that green tea improves health overall, as you’ll discover by writing “green tea” in the search bar of this Web site or any other search engine for that matter.  But these reports have mainly been anecdotal; there hasn’t been any large scale studies demonstrating its stress-relieving capability.

That is, until now, because according to findings from Tohoko University Graduate School researchers, there’s a “significant” relationship between stress levels and how much green tea people drink.  Their findings aren’t based on some small scale study of 10 or 20 people, either.  Try over 42,000, with six to seven percent of those 42,000 complaining of chronic psychological stress symptoms.  Those stress symptoms were relieved, however, among those assigned to drink at least five cups of green tea per day.

The study’s complete findings are published in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What makes green tea so stress-relieving?  The researchers aren’t sure, but past research points to the polyphenol EGCG.  EGCG is a very potent polyphenol that’s been associated with a variety of health benefits, like relieving fatigue and decreasing cancer risk.

Now, drinking five cups of green tea may sound like a lot, but it’s really not, especially if you start drinking it in place of things.  For instance, instead of a cup of coffee in the morning, try drinking a cup of green tea with two tea bags instead of one (the extra bag will supply an extra 20 mg of caffeine).  Instead of a water after a workout, try a chilled down green tea beverage instead.  The sodium and potassium will supply the electrolytes that are lost during rigorous workout sessions.

As far as what’s the best green tea to choose from, always opt for organically brewed tea, paying special attention to its “Sell By” date.  For the sake of taste – not to mention nutrition – you don’t want anything that’s been sitting on the shelf unopened for more than six months.  The further the “Sell By” date is from the date in which you’re purchasing, the better.  Once opened, the shelf-life reduces even further.

Sources:
nutraingredients.com
beveragedaily.com

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