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Study Reveals Roasted Green Tea Enhances Mental Sharpness and Reduces Fatigue

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Roasted green tea or houjicha, a type of Japanese green tea, has been highlighted by researchers for its cognitive benefits. A recent study published in Scientific Reports explored the potential acute impacts of roasted green tea and green tea consumption on mental task performance compared to plain water. 

The findings suggest that even small servings of this tea or roasted over charcoal improve task performance and mental well-being. This study’s participants included 20 healthy adult men from Japan, with an average age of 23. They were given a 5-minute mental arithmetic task six times across two sessions in a single day. 

In the first session, they consumed hot water before the first three tasks and then hot water again before a rest period, totaling four water intakes. In the second session, participants either drank or roasted green tea before tackling the remaining three tasks and before another rest period, totaling four tea intakes. 

This process was repeated on a second day, one month later, with the type of tea switched so that all participants experienced both teas. Researchers measured 11 physiological responses to assess the impact of drinking hot water or roasted green tea on their mental performance. To complement their physiological data, they also gathered participants’ self-evaluations on fatigue, stress, mental workload, and workflow. 

Compared to drinking hot water, tea consumption during tasks was linked to lower tissue blood volume (TBV), tissue blood flow (TBF), and near-infrared spectroscopy responses (NIRS) in participants. These results also suggest that drinking or roasting green tea helped mitigate the physiological stress responses among participants. Researchers found that the aromatic stimulation of Japanese tea beverages has the potential to induce positive effects, enhance mental task performance, promote refreshment, and alleviate feelings of fatigue,” wrote the study authors. Throughout all sessions, task performance was significantly higher with tea consumption than water. However, only the roasted green tea seemed to have anti-fatigue properties despite being lower in caffeine content than regular green tea. 

A higher number of task repetitions also improved response rate and task performance, particularly in the sessions where roasted tea was used. 

Importantly, these benefits were observed with small amounts of tea and within a short time frame, which aligns with typical daily tea consumption habits. The study suggests that aromatic stimulation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to relaxation and reduced stress responses, ultimately enhancing task performance and reducing subjective feelings of fatigue. When roasted green tea and regular green tea were compared, it was seen that roasted green tea had more pyrazine and aromatic components, which could contribute to the mechanism behind the benefits of this study; however, further research is needed to confirm this. People on medication, particularly for high blood pressure or on blood thinners, should be careful of potential interactions, and those with kidney stone history should also be cautious of green tea’s oxalate content. 

 

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