Stressed out? Reach for a soothing cup of black tea.

A recent study conducted by University College London researchers evaluated the health benefits of black tea on stress in the body. Seventy-five regular tea drinkers were split into two groups. All study participants gave up their normal tea, coffee, and caffeinated beverages. One group drank a caffeinated black tea. The control group drank a caffeinated fake-tea placebo.

To eliminate the “comforting” effect of drinking a cup of tea, researchers masked the sensory cues typically associated with tea drinking. Then they had the groups perform challenging tasks to evaluate their bodies’ stress responses as measured by the hormone cortisol, blood pressure, blood platelets, and self-rated stress levels.

The tasks caused similar stress levels in both groups. However, 50 minutes after performing the tasks, cortisol levels had dropped by an average of 47 percent in the tea-drinking group compared with a mere 27 percent in the fake-tea group. The researchers also found that blood platelet activation (which is linked to blood clotting and the risk of heart attacks) was lower in the tea drinkers. And the tea drinkers reported feeling more relaxed in the recovery period after performing the tasks.

Because tea is chemically complex, researchers can’t yet pinpoint the ingredients responsible for the health benefits of black tea. What they do know is that enjoying a cup of black tea may speed recovery from the daily stresses in life. And that, in turn, can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease.

Stock up on healthy and delicious organic black tea. It’s calorie-free, packed with powerful phytonutrients, and can help soothe away stress too.

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet. Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.