Despite coffee’s long-established association with productivity, surmounting studies aim to champion tea as the true hero of an accomplished day. The health benefits are rarely disputed when compared to coffee but have we been collectively overlooking tea as an alternative source for alertness?
Tea is staffed with a bounty of nutrients and chemical byproducts that have been proven to improve alertness, mood, and focus. Moreover, even the most caffeinated teas don’t come close to the levels found in the preferred morning waker-upper. An 8 oz cup of coffee contains roughly 100-165 mg of caffeine (three cups more and you will have surpassed the recommended daily intake).
Yerba Mate, for instance, reared by the dead leaves of South American holly trees is much more caffeinated than most black teas but still less than coffee. It’s also rich in anti-oxidants, lowers blood sugar levels (and your risk of heart disease) and it boosts energy and mental focus.
If you’re like me, taste typically comes at the expense of sufficient caffeination when it comes to your morning coffee. Whenever I opt for a latte (typically two shots, and 6 to 8 ounces of milk), I find myself crashing before noon. Matcha, however, is an aromatic, flavorful beverage that also boasts some admirable alertness credentials. Because it is made from crushed leaves, it contains more caffeine than other green teas. Typically, it amounts to about half the amount of caffeine of a cup of black coffee not to mention it’s rich in fiber.
But it’s important to remember, more caffeine does not, on principle, equate to more productive and even if it did, the long term negative effects associated with excessive coffee use – wagered against making your deadline on time – is not a reasonable outlay. Moderation and the type of caffeine are also important.
Grant Taylor Williams, the cofounder of Tempo, wants to establish an ideology of “less is more” on the topic of caffeine. He’s found that micro-dosing the drug is actually more effective against the midday crash than loading up in the morning.
Tea is bio-chemically disposed to lower stress and improve mood. Their leaves contain L-theanine, which help regulate the amount of caffeine that you are actually absorbing. What this means is that the caffeine will be evenly disbarred in your body throughout the day. Its lack of sugar and hydration benefits yield a calmer and more focused mind.
A mind that is awake but otherwise in a state of unrest is to forfeit a bishop to gain a pawn. As biologist Dr. Austin Gallegher puts it: “Tea really is a bio-hack and it’s been underneath our noses for thousands of years.”