Did you know that matcha includes the same nutritional benefits found in 10 cups of regular green tea? Famous for its antioxidants and low amounts of caffeine, matcha has one more secret ingredient in its wellness-boosting arsenal: l-theanine, an amino acid unique to tea, which can be found in abundant levels in matcha. In this blog, we are diving deep into what l-theanine is and how it can help you. Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits!
What is L-Theanine?
Matcha tea is a popular drink choice among many due to its unique flavour and health benefits. Matcha also offers a no-crash energy boost that is preferred among many as an alternative to coffee. L-theanine plays an important role here.
This amino acid is most commonly found in green tea and black tea. It is known for helping those with anxiety, stress, and even insomnia. If you find yourself having any of those symptoms, then matcha tea might be a great option for you. When you drink tea, especially matcha, you might find that you feel calmer and more at ease. Part of this is because of the l-theanine that you are getting when you drink it.
This amino acid is exclusive to teas, and in matcha, you get a super concentration of it. You will find that higher-grade matcha teas have a super concentration of it. In general, 1 gram of matcha contains a range of between 6mg and 20mg depending on the grade and quality (1 gram of matcha is equal to ½ tsp).
At My Matcha Life, our Tea Lover’s Organic Ceremonial Matcha Tea is picked during the first harvest in spring after 2-4 weeks of being shade covered, so it naturally contains higher levels of l-theanine. Shade covering blocks direct sunlight to the leaves, increasing the leaf’s chlorophyll and l-theanine content. The higher the L-theanine, the smoother tasting the matcha tea.
What are the Benefits of L-Theanine?
Here are some potential benefits:
- Thinking & Cognitive Function. It’s great for helping with mental clarity and cognitive function, consuming matcha tea with l-theanine can help you stay focused throughout the day.
- Anxiety & Stress Reduction. Another benefit is that it is said to reduce anxiety, creating a calming effect. As many people can report, drinking tea can calm your mind and relax you. It can help too if you are experiencing anxiety from a stressful situation.
- Focus. It helps with focus and attention. If you find yourself not being very productive or if focusing is difficult for you, you might want to consider drinking matcha tea daily to get the benefit of l-theanine. This helps many people stay more alert in their daily lives.
- Immune System. It has also been suggested that it may help with improving the function of the body’s immune system. If you are interested in keeping your body healthy and fueling it, matcha tea may be just the thing!
How Does L-Theanine Work?
L-theanine stimulates the brain’s alpha waves, which can be measured by an EEG test. The presence of alpha waves indicates a state of alertness in our present reality. If you find that you are alert and focused, that usually means the alpha waves in your brain are present. When you drink matcha tea with l-theanine, these alpha waves are triggered. If you’ve ever had a cup of matcha tea and found yourself more alert than normal, the l-theanine is partly why.
Of course, matcha also contains caffeine, which alone contributes to mental alertness and clarity, but studies have also shown that caffeine increases the effects of L-theanine. It’s like a double whammy of focus! Did you know that a serving of matcha (1/2 tsp) has on average 30 mg of caffeine and most people use 1-2 servings per drink?
The high levels of caffeine in coffee often result in a ‘crash’, and some people also complain about feeling shaky, wired, or jittery after drinking a cup of coffee. The low levels of caffeine in matcha, however, supported by the effects of l-theanine, help to create a sustained feeling of focus and alertness without the crash or jitters.
All in all, l-theanine is an amino acid that offers benefits for those who need help with stress, anxiety, and staying focused. We highly recommend giving matcha tea a try to see how l-theanine can benefit you!