Saturday, January 10, 2009
Reduce Stress with Tea
We live in a stress-filled culture. Technology, responsibilities, traffic, jobs, chores, difficult people, and life's fast pace keep society on a pretty tight string. Uptight and stressed, it's easy to become short-tempered and grumpy, even with those we love the most (or maybe especially with those we love most because we know they will give us the most grace). For years it was thought that coffee and tea accelerated the stress cycle, as caffeine is a known stimulant that is thought to elevate stress. Recent studies have shown that tea may be exempt from this conclusion. National Hot Tea Month is a good time to take a closer look at this phenomenon. According to a study by the University College of London, a regular cup of tea can help you recover from the everyday stresses of life more quickly. They found that black tea helps cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol that circulates in the blood. Cortisol is a hormone that negatively affects the body in many ways. It raises blood sugar, increases blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, quickens pulse, and stops digestion. A simple cup of black tea can help reduce these effects. Some might say that the simple act of sitting down with a warm beverage is what produces this calming effect, but research shows that herbal teas and coffee are not effective. In studies, it was shown that within 50 minutes of a stressful experience, black tea-drinking participants cortisol levels had dropped 47%. In comparison, those who drank 'fake tea' had a cortisol reduction of only 27%. Additionally, blood platelet activation, which is linked to blood clotting and heart attack risk, is lower in tea drinkers. It appears that black tea has very important health implications, reducing the effects of stress and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
More information on this subject can be found here.