Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter.
The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.
It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.
What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (4, 5).
Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory (6).
However, green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (7).
Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.
Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.
Summary Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
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