Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. New scientific evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body.
The Health Council of the Netherlands, an independent scientific body that advises the country’s parliament, say people should drink three to five cups of tea a day.
But it has to be black or green - herbal or fruit varieties don't count. And the Dutch government is heeding experts' advice, serving schoolchildren as young as four tea rather than squash, juice or milk as their lunchtime drink.
Scientists say a of cup reduces the risk of blood pressure, reports the Daily Telegraph.
What is not known is what ingredients of tea were responsible for 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.
The test subjects were subjected to challenging tasks, while their cortisol, blood pressure, blood platelet and self-rated levels of stress were measured. In one task, volunteers were exposed to one of three stressful situations (threat of unemployment, a shop lifting accusation or an incident in a nursing home), where they had to prepare a verbal response and argue their case in front of a camera.
The tasks triggered substantial increases in blood pressure, heart rate and subjective stress ratings in both of the groups. In other words, similar stress levels were induced in both groups. However, 50 minutes after the task, cortisol levels had dropped by an average of 47 per cent in the tea drinking group compared with 27 per cent in the fake tea group.
Three to five cups of tea are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. "Other studies in the short term looking at risk factors also agree that daily tea consumption in this range are likely to have a positive impact on heart heath ." The move will provide a welcome boost to the tea industry after stats revealed that annual UK sales figures have plummeted 6% in the last five years.
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