Suffering from “mommy brain?” A Zen-like state of centered alertness of mind can be yours, courtesy of a soothing cup of tea. Theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in green, black and oolong tea, has been found to actively alter the attention networks of the brain.
Ongoing studies presented by Dr. John Foxe of City College of the City University of New York found that theanine is absorbed by the small intestine and crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and increases alpha brain-wave activity. Alpha brain rhythms are known to induce a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind.
If your young sidekicks want to sip along with Mommy, will tea hurt your little sippers? Dr. Gary Morchower, a pediatrician with Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, notes that many cultures use chamomile and other herbal teas as remedy for children. He notes that antioxidants and other components found in teas are just as valuable for children as they are for adults and advocates a commonsense approach to caffeinated tea.
“If you’re concerned, just drink decaf,” he says. “Supposedly, it doesn’t detract from the medicinal aspects of the tea. I wouldn’t suggest a mom who’s pregnant drink caffeinated tea.”