Better than caffeine: Theobromine, Theophylline, L-theanine
Natural Alternatives to Coffee
In recent years, matcha and cacao have become increasingly popular alternatives to coffee as a source of energy and focus. While coffee has been a staple in many people's morning routines for decades, matcha and cacao offer unique benefits that make them a healthier and more sustainable option.
Matcha is the finest type of green tea, made by grinding the specially grown young leaves into a fine powder. Matcha contains caffeine, but also contains L-theanine and theophylline.
A natural stimulant found in matcha, theophylline, is closely related to caffeine but with a few key added benefits. Theophylline has a longer half-life than caffeine, which means it can have longer-lasting effects on the body. This may make it a better option for people who need longer-lasting stimulation or have lung issues.
1). Enhanced cognitive function: Theophylline has been shown to improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
2). Improved lung function: Theophylline is a bronchodilator and can help relax the muscles in the airways, making it easier to breathe. This makes it a useful medication for treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
3). Reduced inflammation: Theophylline has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the body.
4). Diuretic effects: Theophylline can increase urine production, which may be helpful in treating conditions like edema (swelling caused by fluid buildup).
L-theanine is an amino acid that improves focus and alertness. It is uniquely found in green tea, with highest concentrations in matcha. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha provides a sustained energy boost that can last for several hours without the jittery side effects of coffee. Studies show it induces alpha brain waves, which create a calm alertness. This is similar to the effect of meditation which also induces alpha brain waves.
Cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, also contains caffeine, but in smaller amounts than coffee. Cacao also contains other beneficial compounds such as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve cognitive function, mood, and cardiovascular health. Additionally, cacao contains theobromine, a compound that provides a mild stimulant effect without the crash associated with coffee.
Theobromine is another compound closely related to caffeine that is found in cacao plants. Some of the benefits of theobromine include:
1). Enhanced cognitive function: Theobromine has been found to increase blood flow to the brain, which can enhance cognitive function and improve memory.
2). Increased energy and alertness: Theobromine is a mild stimulant that can provide a natural energy boost and increase alertness.
3). Improved mood: Theobromine can help improve mood by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.
4). Improved heart health: Theobromine has been shown to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
5). Reduced inflammation: Theobromine has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation and pain in the body.
More Benefits of Matcha & Cacao
These superfoods are also extremely high in antioxidants, which help to protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation. Matcha is particularly high in antioxidants called catechins, which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Cacao also contains antioxidants, including flavonoids, which have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive function.