New hope for the twitchy and distracted has arrived in the form of an ancient brew—tea makes people feel more alert and at the same time more relaxed, new research suggests. The findings add another possible benefit to a beverage already vaunted as a preventer of heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, US News and World Report reports.
Whereas previous research focused on tea's antioxidant properties, a new study examines the effects of theanine, an amino acid found in tea. Neuroscientists believe theanine causes a decrease in the brain's "alpha rhythms" when people perform complex attention tasks, enabling them to pay closer attention. Theanine may offer hope for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's treatments.