A recent study has shown that if you drink five cups of green tea each day, you may reduce occurrences of psychological distress by up to 20 percent. A study consisting of 42,093 Japanese individuals found that 2,774 people (approximately 6.6%) were victims of psychological stress. However, this number was significantly lower among green tea drinkers, suggesting that green tea can actually improve one’s psychological health. The research, which was led by Atsushi Hozawa of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, was outlined in an online publication of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
According to estimates from WHO, over 450 million people throughout the world suffer from stress, and 17 percent of Europeans believe that stress could be the biggest health risk. The costs associated with stress are estimated at €20bn in Europe, and an amazing $200bn in the United States.
Previous studies have already shown that green tea and its extracts can have a positive impact on our health. In fact, studies have reported that the extracts may also help prevent Alzheimer’s and some kinds of cancer. In addition, they are said to improve cardiovascular and oral health as well as assist with weight management. While previous studies have shown these benefits, there had not been a large-scale study of the relationship between green tea and psychological distress until now.
After the researchers adjusted their results for various factors such as age, sex, BMI, alcohol consumption, diet, cigarette smoking, diet, history of disease, and other variables, they found a statistically significant inverse relationship between the consumption of green tea and psychological distress for individuals who drank five cups or more or green tea each day. This is in comparison to individuals who only had one cup or less each day.
Because the study was epidemiological in nature, the researchers could not offer evidence to suggest the active constituents related to the benefits. Further study will need to be done to clarify the bioactives and mechanisms in play. There are four primary polyphenols in fresh tea leaves – epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin (EGC). A previous Japanese study (published in the journal Nutrition) concluded that these green tea extracts may, in fact, help offset the various signs associated with stressful lives, including physical and mental fatigue.
What Is Green Tea?
Essentially green tea comes from the same plants that “black tea” is made from. The significant difference is that the leaves have not been overly-processed and not only do they retain their fresh green color, but the health giving properties are relatively unharmed by the oxidation processes which create black tea. Black tea contains the same nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals as green tea, just in greatly reduced quantities.
Green tea is often cited as being the “healthiest beverage on the planet”. It is certainly a great alternative for those looking to gradually reduce their caffeine intake and get their stress under control.