Anxiety, Stress, & Me:
I always remember being an anxious child -- I couldn't leave the house without tying my shoes at the same perfect tightness, or clean my room without putting everything in its "designated spot." Even as I got older, my anxiety continued. I ended up developing an eating disorder at the age of 12 and dealt with many years of frustration.
When I look back at my past, I struggle to connect with my younger self. The calm, relaxed, and happy-go-lucky current me does not comprehend the same emotions that once seemed to drive me crazy.
Perhaps it comes with age, I once thought. Perhaps my absence of anxiety was a result of 'wisdom'. Maybe I was simply better able to put my emotions, anxiety, and frustration into words -- I found outlets to express myself. Such an approach seems reasonable.
But if I try to pinpoint the time in my adolescence where my anxiety gradually fades away, I end up at the same spot: when I started drinking matcha.
I started drinking matcha on a regular basis around the age of 14 after discovering it while studying traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. As I drank it more and more, I began to not only enjoy the slightly bitter earthy taste but also relished in the relaxing mood it put me in. I no longer worried about the trivial things
How Matcha Helps with Anxiety & Stress:
There is only one clear explanation for how and why matcha can help with anxiety, and that is due to the presence of L-theanine. If you have read my other posts about Matcha & relaxation, then you already know that high-quality matcha has a high count of the compound L-theanine.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid present in fresh green tea leaves. It is also responsible for that slight 'umami',(or savory) flavor that is characteristic of high-quality matcha green tea (you may notice that low-quality grades lack any umami flavors).
How can L-theanine reduce stress?:
L-theanine is known to not only increase serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels by crossing the blood brain barrier but to also reduce mental stress and boost cognitive performance.
I am by no means saying that Matcha is the one and only cure for anxiety and stress. Everyone is unique and has varying levels of stress -- in some cases more severe than others. I simply wanted to share my experience with drinking matcha and how that had a positive impact on my mental well being, with the hopes that you may share my experience. :)
For a scholarly article on Matcha & L-theanine, see below:
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