Dear Readers: Welcome to a new feature of the Ask Vicki blog! Over the years, in addition to questions regarding relationships, as a naturopathic physician I’ve been asked about a variety of other issues. Questions regarding physical concerns, certainly, but also emotional, mental, and even spiritual issues, as well. And in truth, they are relationships questions because they address how we relate to ourselves and our environment.
The answers to these questions are usually short and sweet, but also rational and logical. And of course, they are grounded in the Five Elements model! The information seems more important now than ever before, so I’d like to share some of these with you here.
Question: Life is so crazy, I feel scattered and can’t seem to focus or concentrate anymore.
Answer: Drink three to five cups of green tea daily.
Why: Feeling scattered usually comes from too much energy in the Fire element and green tea is excellent at balancing excess Fire energy without overdoing it. Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine (2% to 4%) which affects thinking and alertness. Caffeine in general is also thought to stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Studies have shown it can also promote nerve cell function and improve mood, reaction time, and memory.
Green tea also contains theanine, a compound that reduces stress-related hormones and neuron excitement in the brain. The combination of theanine and caffeine is said to have a synergizing effect that improves brain function and productivity.
Of course, it’s important to point out that too much caffeine can be agitating on its own. Green tea has about 35mg of caffeine per 8 ounce serving. For comparison’s sake, coffee has an average of 95mg of caffeine per 8 ounce serving. Different people have different reactions to caffeine, but for most people the amount of caffeine in 3-5 cups of green tea consumed over a day can be very beneficial for increasing the ability to focus, as well as overall health.
And finally, because too much of a good thing can be bad, it’s important to note that green tea extracts have been reported to cause liver and kidney problems in rare cases. So, stick with pure organic brewed green tea as nature intended and enjoy several steaming (or iced) cups a day to help calm excess Fire energy and get your focus back.
Stay safe and well,