Stimulants Found In Tea for good health
Are you a tea-drinker or a coffee drinker? Let me tell you that I am not both. Living here in Chennai where people are avid coffee drinkers I occasionally enjoy a glass of cold coffee. The funny part is that I don’t drink milk regularly too and when people ask me what I drink, I cheekily reply ’water’! Ok so that was boring!! Let us get back to the question of drinking tea and coffee.
Well, both tea and coffee have caffeine in them; the difference is in the amounts of caffeine in each. Hmmm, if you are a regular tea drinker you would be delighted to know that tea offers more than just caffeine. It has less caffeine than coffee, but has three stimulants in it and one particular that stimulant is found exclusively in tea!
After coffee, tea is the world’s second largest source of caffeine in the world. Caffeine is known to stimulate the nervous system, reduce drowsiness, make one feel active.
Caffeine is known to block ‘Adenosine’ which is a neurotransmitter. The presence of more Adenosine in the brain increases the tendency to fall asleep. Caffeine is known to work here and reverse this effect. No wonder some people badly need their coffee/tea first thing in the morning to wake them up! Do you fall in that category?
The main difference between the caffeine in tea and the caffeine in coffee is that tea has less of it. Where a cup of strong coffee can provide 200 to 300 mg of caffeine, tea provides around 20 to 60 mg.
Theophylline and Theobromine
Both Theophylline and Theobromine are related to caffeine and all 3 belong to the class of compounds called Xanthines. (Things are getting too sciencey now!!)
They both have been known to have several effects on the body.
Theophylline is known to relax the smooth muscles in the airway (wind pipe) that makes breathing a lot easier. It also stimulates the heart’s rate and force of contraction.
Theobromine is also one that stimulates the heart. It has a mild diuretic effect (urine inducing) and it improves the flow of blood around the body, leading to a reduction in BP.
Cocoa beans are good sources of these two compounds. When it comes to tea, a cup has very small quantities of these. But the thing is that when caffeine is consumed, a part of it gets converted to Theophylline and Theobromine. So, each time you consume caffeine you increase your levels of Theophylline and Theobromine too.
L-Theanine-this particular stimulant is an amino acid found chiefly in tea. It has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This compound is linked to an alert relaxation in humans. In certain studies it has been found that L-Theanine along with caffeine helps in improving cognitive function and improving attention.
Why drink tea? That is the question!
Tea is a good alternative to coffee especially for the ‘all night study’ kind of people as it will help you concentrate for longer periods of time.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up coffee! Both have their own upsides and downsides. You may have your cup of coffee before your workout to make you perform better.
Are you making it a point to drink tea after knowing about the stimulants found in tea ?
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