Does green tea help with anxiety? Are there any good alternatives?
Why tea? Why green tea, specifically?
Before we can actually answer these questions we need to back up a bit.
Tea is a very popular drink worldwide.
According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A, it is estimated that people drank about 3,8 Billion gallons of tea in the U.S alone in 2018
I highly doubt that this number is going down any time soon.
Out of all the tea in the U.S that people drank during 2018, the vast majority of it (~84%) was black tea.
This doesn’t mean that black tea is “the best” tea.
If you suffer from anxiety, or just tend to feel stressed in general, green tea is probably better for you.
In fact, green tea is arguably one of the best drinks you can have regardless.
Most popular drinks are bad for anxiety
There’s this saying that the most delicious things in life are the ones that are worst for you.
If you suffer from anxiety or react strongly to stress, this statement probably applies to you.
Most of the most popular drinks and foods in the world will have a negative impact on your condition.
Soft drinks, alcohol and even coffee (which is otherwise great) can all make your anxiety worse.
When push comes to shove, if tea is not exempt from this rule (except for when it is, we’ll get to that)
After all, most of these drinks contain lots and lots of caffeine, which is known to stimulate anxiety.
How much caffeine is “too much”?
According to Caffeineinformer, here are some of the ratios of caffeine in some of the world’s most popular drinks (milligram per ounce).
For the sake of simplifying things, I’ve added the amount of caffeine per cup using this guide as a reference.
According to this, one cup is 235ml.
Anyway, these are the numbers, give or take a few milligrams:
- Black label brewed coffee: 129.6 (1,029 mg per cup)
- Turkish Coffee: 25.0 (198.65 mg per cup)
- Coffee (general): 20.4 (162.1 mg per cup)
- 7 Eleven brewed coffee: 17.5 (139 mg per cup)
- Coca-cola: 9.5 (75.5 mg per cup)
- Red Bull: 9.5 (75.5 mg per cup)
- Starbucks Grande Cappuccino: 9.4 (74.6 mg per cup)
- Black tea: 5.2 (41.3 mg per cup)
- Green tea: 3.1 (24. 6mg per cup)
These numbers show us that not all drinks are created equal but they don’t actually tell us very much.
Not until we find something that we can compare them to, anyway.
What do these numbers mean?
Once you put them into perspective though, the impact of each of these drunks becomes obvious.
That being said, a person with anxiety probably shouldn’t drink even that much.
Even if we take the 400mg number at face value, it means that a person probably shouldn’t drink more than 2.5 cups of coffee, 5.3 cups of coke, or 16.2 cups of green tea a day
But as many coffee drinkers will tell you, this isn’t that simple.
You probably can’t afford to drink as much coffee as you do
Out of all the drinks that we have talked about, coffee deserves a special mention.
The average American drinks 3.1 cups of coffee a day, and it’s so popular worldwide that, regardless of where you are in the world, you probably drink it regularly.
As we have demonstrated, even 2.5 cups of coffee a day might be too much coffee.
In other words, the average American drinks too much coffee.
The numbers worldwide probably aren’t that different either, and honestly? that’s a problem.
Coffee is a great energy booster and many people need that extra push that it gives them.
That boost in energy can come at a cost, and that cost can be your mental health.
You might need an alternative.
Drink green tea instead of coffee
The issue with caffeine is that it is an addictive substance.
By extension, it means that you can experience withdrawal-like symptoms if you avoid consuming it.
Not only that, but caffeine can have positive effects that you might not want to miss out on.
Green tea might be the solution – it has all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.
Not only does it have a relatively low amount of caffeine, but the caffeine that it has is unlikely to negatively affect you.
Quite the opposite, actually.
Green tea, and tea in general, contain an amino acid known as l-theanine.
L-theanine is known to blunt the overstimulating effects of caffeine and improve concentration without taking away any positive effects that caffeine has.
In other words, not only will green tea not affect your anxiety in a negative way, but it will also help you focus and be more alert.
But how does green tea help your anxiety and stress?
That’s a fair question, and there are a couple of answers to it.
First of all, we’ve already briefly touched upon l-theanine, but let’s look into it a bit more.
The reason for that is that l-theanine is known to reduce both psychological and physiological stress responses.
This makes it harder for anxiety to kick in, increasing your tolerance to stress.
On the other hand, l-theanine can also help manage symptoms of anxiety and stress that much better.
L-theanine can lower your heart rate and help manage blood pressure. it can also increase GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) which a neurotransmitter that helps with relaxation.
Another thing to consider is EGCG.
EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is one of the main compounds found in green tea.
EGCG is also known to reduce stress, as it can affect GABA and is known to affect your brainwave patterns in a way that’s similar to meditation.
What’s interesting about it is that green tea is one of the only resources as EGCG available.
Not only that but EGCG supplementation is ineffective, with only a small percentage of it actually getting absorbed by the body.
Green tea is an anxiety (and depression) killer, making it something that should absolutely try out.
How to make a good cup of green tea
Much like anything else in life, there’s a good way and a bad way to make tea.
But what does “making bad tea” actually mean?
The difference between good tea and bad tea lies in the ingredients that you use and the way that you make it.
Here are some things that you should definitely consider when making your tea
- Don’t boil the water – Boiling water can make green tea taste very bitter, so unless you like bitter tea make sure that your water is hot (75-90 degrees Celcius, or 167-194 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Use loose leaves, not bags – Loose leaves are preferable to tea bags, their quality (and benefits!) are higher
- Consider chewing the leaves – If you can stand the taste, chewing the tea leaves is probably the way to go: all of the good stuff is in there!
Alright, so having gone over all of that, what should you actually be doing?
Here’s a 7-step rundown of how to make green tea:
- Take one teaspoon of green tea leaves for every cup of tea that you want to make
- Take the tea leaves in a strainer and put them aside
- boil your water in a pot, try to keep the water below its boiling point
- Place the strainer over your cup/mug
- Pour the hot water into the cup and let the tea steep for anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes
- If you want to add anything to the tea, this is the time (We’ll get to that)
It takes longer to make tea this way, but the results are definitely worth it.
How to make green tea taste better
For all of the good that it does, for all of its benefits, one fact remains.
Green tea isn’t for everyone.
Taste is subjective, but many find green tea to be too bitter and grassy.
It certainly has a pretty particular taste that’s not for everyone.
You might be tempted to use a sweetener, and that’s fair, but there are some sweeteners that are better than others.
For example, avoiding sugar would probably be for the best.
Processed sugar is known to contribute to anxiety and stress, making it something that you should avoid as much as you could.
Some other sweeteners, such as stevia, are also bad for people with anxiety.
So, what’s the solution? Honey.
It dissolves very easily in hot water and it’s actually really good for you – in moderation, of course.
What else? Well, you could add some lemon or mint to give your tea a certain undertone that will make it less bitter.
Then again, some people like the way that green tea tastes.
If you don’t like it right now, maybe it’ll be an acquired taste for you?
Does Green Tea Help With Anxiety? Yes, but it’s not enough
So, does green tea help with anxiety? Yes.
Is it enough? Probably not.
For all of the good that green tea does, for all of its benefits, it is not a “magical solution” to all of your problems.
Far from it.
Rather, green tea is one of many lifestyle changes that you should implement to better handle anxiety and stress.
In that sense, one of the best people to help you is you.
Sure, green tea can and probably will help you, but if you really do suffer from stress and anxiety you should do more than just drink the right kind of tea.
To overcome anxiety you need to take action.
I highly recommend checking out The Panic Away Program.
In it, you will find a variety of methods, tips, and tricks that you can implement right away that will help you improve your condition.
In any case, drinking green tea is definitely a good place to start, but it’s not where your efforts should end.
If you have any more questions, or just want to talk, feel free to comment down below or send me an email.
I always do my best to reply to my readers.