If you’re looking to give your brain a boost but are tired of coffee and caffeine crashes, tea can be a great way to enhance your studying routine and improve your focus. Teas made from the camellia sinensis plant all contain caffeine, ranging from about half to a quarter as much caffeine as coffee per cup.
Stimulating herbal teas are also a great way to reap many of the benefits of tea without consuming more tea. Many types of tea, herbs, and spices have stimulating, clarifying properties than can help to improve cognitive function and give your brain a boost. Whether you’re pulling an all-nighter preparing for an exam or just want a cup of something that will help improve your mental clarity and focus, these teas are a healthy alternative to coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages.
Matcha is produced from shade-grown green tea leaves that are stone-ground into a fine powder. Matcha can then be consumed on its own when whisked up with hot water, or can be added to lattes, smoothies, or baked goods. Because it is so concentrated, matcha is higher in caffeine than most other types of tea, containing almost as much caffeine as coffee per cup. Matcha is also very high in l-theanine, a unique compound that reduces stress and helps produce a state of calm and focus. Together, the caffeine and l-theanine present in matcha work to improve cognitive function and clarity, making matcha an ideal tea for aiding studying and boosting brainpower.
2. Yerba mate
Mate is a caffeinated tea made from a species of holly plant and popular throughout South America. Traditionally, mate is drunk from hollow gourds using filtered straws called bombillas. While mate is high in caffeine, the caffeine present in mate can have a slightly different effect than other types of caffeine, resulting in a sustained energizing effect without the high and crash associated with coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Mate is said to contribute to focus, clarity, and alertness.
3. Peppermint tea
Peppermint is a common medicinal herb that can be consumed on its own as a stimulating herbal tea, or added to a variety of flavored blends. Studies have shown that peppermint may enhance memory and increase alertness, which makes it a great tea for when you need to be on your mental A-game. Peppermint-based herbal infusions don’t contain any caffeine, which can be a plus if you’re looking to cut down on your caffeine intake. In addition, peppermint is present in a variety of caffeinated tea blends, for when you’re looking for a little extra boost.
4. Ginger tea
Ginger is another beneficial ingredient in many tea blends, imparting a spicy, slightly sweet flavor to herbal and caffeinated teas alike. Ginger has been shown to help increase attention and cognitive function. Ginger also has a wealth of other health benefits, including reducing inflammation, soothing pain, and easing digestion. Ginger contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help to ward off common illnesses like colds and sore throats.
5. Turmeric tea
Like ginger, turmeric is a potent spice that has been celebrated for its healthful, medicinal properties. Turmeric has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function, and may even be a helpful component of treatment for people with Alzheimer’s. Turmeric imparts a bright orange-gold color and a subtle spice to any tea its included in.
6. Green tea
Green tea is, like other types of true tea, made from the camellia sinensis plant. Like matcha, green tea contains a potent combo of both caffeine and l-theanine, making it a great study aid that can help boost your brainpower and induce a state of calm and focus. In addition, green tea contains especially high amounts of a catechin known as EGCG, which may be beneficial for learning and memory.
7. Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh tea is an aged, partially fermented tea that brews up a deep black color and is high in caffeine, containing about half as much caffeine as coffee per cup. Thanks to the fermentation process, pu-erh has a rich, decadent, earthy character that will satisfy fans of bold coffee and strong flavors. Pu-erh has been shown to act as a neuroprotective agent that improves cognitive functioning, making it a great choice for when you want your mental functions to be at peak performance.
8. Black tea
If you need an extra boost of caffeine but are trying to steer clear of coffee, black tea is a popular option. Black tea contains about half the amount of caffeine as coffee, making it a great choice if you need a little boost. Black teas come in a variety of popular varieties and blends, including Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Masala Chai. Like other types of tea, black tea also contains l-theanine, and has a whole host of other health benefits aside from its stimulating, energizing effect.
9. Other loose leaf teas
Other loose leaf teas, including white teas, oolong teas, and purple teas, all also contain caffeine and l-theanine, both of which are ideal for studying and focus. Since these teas contain less caffeine than black tea, pu-erh, or matcha, they might be a good choice if you’re looking for the stimulating properties of tea while trying to reduce your overall caffeine intake. These teas are also high in antioxidants, and come in a wide variety of styles and flavors to choose from, from mellow, floral white teas to sweet and flavored fruity blends and everything in between.
Improving cognitive function with tea
Whether you’re looking to study up for your next test, pull an all-nighter, or just give your brain a little boost, tea is a great way to improve cognitive functioning and mental focus. Loose leaf tea made from the camellia sinensis plant as well as herbal ingredients including peppermint, ginger, and turmeric can all help to improve memory, increase focus, and make your mind as sharp as possible. Tea can even help to keep your brain in tip-top shape into old age, helping to slow memory loss and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.