Among various ways recommended to combat stress such as meditation, exercise there is also a place for food. What we eat influences our ability to cope with everyday challenges. An appropriate amount of magnesium, vitamins and potassium or other amino-acids can visibly aid the organism in the battle against the adverse effects of stress. Moreover, there is one particularly exceptional substance, which has surprisingly much to offer in terms of stress relief.
The substance in question is l-theanine. This substance occurs naturally in the leafs of Camellia sinensis, the tea bush that is, and an easy way to supplement it is to drink a couple of cups of tea.
L-theanine is an amino-acid which does not build proteins, but it assumes a particularly important role in the nervous system. Studies point to the fact that l-theanine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, regulates the amount of neurotransmitters, easing the agitation of neurons initiated by stress. It also diminishes the heart rate, which occurs in stressful situation (the so called palpitation). This amino-acid changes the effect of caffeine, so often abused by people leading an intensive and stressful lifestyle. The caffeine itself boosts intellectual abilities, adds strength and allows to push back fatigue, but it can intensify the effect of stress. L-theanine seems to balance out this negative influence, changing the effect of caffeine.
Research proved that the most abundant in this amino-acid is green tea, which – let’s recall – contains also low doses of caffeine and a powerful boost of antioxidants. All these are the reasons why green tea can be a powerful weapon in the fight against stress.
*L-theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H.