Tea has been our go-to conversation starter since time immemorial. The humble cup of beverage has witnessed discussions, gossip, strategies, heartbreaks, magical moments, and whatnot. But have you ever wondered what makes tea the beverage staple for all people worldwide? The answer is the stimulants present in tea that not only provide a stimulatory effect on our brain improving the cognitive functions in the process, removing drowsiness instantly but also provide abundant health benefits to the body.
However, with all that being said, like all pleasures, tea should also be taken in moderation. It has been reported that these stimulants should not be consumed in excess as they can also produce derogatory effects on our bodies. Quite intriguing, right? Well, continue reading the article then as we discuss each of the stimulants in detail.
Which stimulants are present in tea?
The stimulants that are generally found in tea are caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and L-theanine. Each of them provides unique benefits for the body but as mentioned earlier, can produce unwanted effects in the body if not had in moderation. So let us know more about them in detail then.
Considered as one of the most potent stimulants found in tea, did you know caffeine is also the most psychoactive substance used worldwide? However, tea does not contain caffeine as much as coffee does. A cup of coffee has 150-300 mg of caffeine whereas a cup of tea only contains 20-60 mg of caffeine.
- Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and helps in eradicating drowsiness. Caffeine helps in inhibiting the adenosine neurotransmitter which when built up in the body increases the sleep pressure that makes you drowsy and lethargic. Caffeine helps you in reversing the effect.
- Improves short term memory and enhances reaction time.
- Helps in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and several liver ailments including liver cancer.
- Boosts blood pressure
- Increases the risk of chronic heart ailments
- Increases the glucose levels in the blood
Children, teens, the elderly, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and other people who have chronic ailments should always check their consumption of caffeine everyday.
Theobromine belongs to a class of organic compounds known as the xanthines. These compounds can produce several physiological effects on the body but it was believed that since a cup of tea only provides a small amount of theobromine, the effect produced on the body is therefore negligible. However, with recent studies, people who have been consuming tea for a long time, certain effects produced due by theobromine can be easily noticed in them.
- Theobromine helps in lowering blood pressure. When people with high blood pressure regularly consume theobromine in the form of their tea, it was noticed that theobromine helped in regulating the blood pressures by widening the blood vessels.
- Theobromine improves the cognitive function of the brain. It enhances performance in mental tasks and also ameliorates mental fatigue simultaneously.
- It has been reported that theobromine can alleviate respiratory ailments. It opens up airways and boosts your lung functions.
- Theobromine raises good cholesterol (HDL) in the body and reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) simultaneously.
- According to a study conducted in 2019, theobromine can improve your sleep quality.
- Acts as a mild diuretic
Apart from the above mentioned, theobromine has proved to have effective benefits against gout, tooth decay, and kidney stones.
Long term daily intake of theobromine can lead to
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Headache and severe mood swings
- Consuming theobromine more than 1000mg per day can lead to an increase in heart rate.
People with chronic heart ailments and pregnant women should limit their theobromine intake.
Theophylline, similar to theobromine, belongs to the class of xanthines. It can also produce several physiological effects in the body. Also, did you know that the caffeine we ingest gets converted into theophylline and theobromine after metabolism? So next time, limit your caffeine intake as you simultaneously increase the caffeine metabolites in your body too and these can create several effects in your body.
- Theophylline helps in relaxing the smooth muscles in the airway so that the process of breathing becomes much easier in people who have difficulty in breathing. It can effectively treat and improve the symptoms of asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
- It also stimulates the force and rate of heart contractions and relaxation process, increasing the blood flow in the process
- Produces anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
- Headache and trouble falling asleep
- Theophylline can help you to improve the symptoms of chronic breathing problems but excess consumption can also lead to shortness of breath and pain in your chest.
- In some extreme cases, conditions like seizures can also arise.
Seizures are a life-threatening condition. Therefore, if you notice symptoms like tremors, twitching, tense muscles, trouble in talking, or confusion, contact your nearest hospital immediately.
Have you felt a mild buzz through your body after having a cup of tea and wondered why? Then the stimulant L-theanine is the answer to your query.
L-theanine is an amino acid that enters the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier. It causes the increase in the formation of brain waves which is also known as the alpha waves and that helps in producing a relaxing and soothing effect in the body.
The other effects produced by L-theanine are
- We have already seen how L-theanine enhances the production of alpha waves in the body. These alpha waves help in alleviating stress and anxiety and produce a soothing effect but it does not cause drowsiness and produce resting heart rate.
- L-theanine helps in enhancing focus and attention.
- It has been reported that L-theanine boosts the immune system of the body and can also ameliorate incidents of upper respiratory tract infections.
- L-theanine can effectively increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and also enhance your body’s ability to combat the growth of cancerous cells.
- It can also reduce the risk of cancer.
L-theanine controls blood pressure, improves sleep quality and provides relief from sinusitis.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain and stomach upsets
- Irritability and severe mood swings
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should stay away from the over ingestion of L-theanine. Also, we can see that L-theanine helps you in combating cancerous growth but make sure to check with your medical provider once before consumption.
So there to go, everything you need to know about the stimulants found in tea. People have been turning towards tea for ameliorating several chronic ailments since time immemorial. It not only provides health benefits but also is a great beverage to unwind after a long day. However, limit your consumption so that it does not produce any unwanted effects on the body.