Drinking black tea could reduce stress hormone levels and help ease the burden of heart disease, says the first randomized clinical trial into the effects of the beverage on stress.
"This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease," said lead researcher Professor Andrew Steptoe from University College London.
"Drinking tea has traditionally been associated with stress relief, and many people believe that drinking tea helps them relax after facing the stresses of everyday life," said Steptoe. "However, scientific evidence for the relaxing properties of tea is quite limited. This is one of the first studies to assess tea in a double-blind placebo controlled design," informs NutraIngredients.
According to Telegraph, the research involved 75 young men who were regular tea drinkers. All gave up normal tea, coffee and decaffeinated drinks for six weeks and drank one of two "tea" mixtures, four times a day instead.
One group had a tea-coloured drink which was caffeinated and fruit-flavoured, containing all the constituents of black tea. The other was a fake tea, identical in taste but with no tea properties. The participants could add milk to their "tea" or not as they chose.
The real tea was disguised so that the volunteers could not derive accustomed comfort from the brew.
Professor Andrew Steptoe says: “We do not know what ingredients of tea were responsible for these effects on stress recovery and relaxation. Tea is chemically very complex, with many different ingredients. Ingredients such as catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids and amino acids have been found to have effects on neurotransmitters in the brain, but we cannot tell from this research which ones produced the differences.
"Nevertheless, our study suggests that drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life. Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal. This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronaryheart disease."
"The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial," informs Medical News Today.
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