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.