Ask any student how they are feeling especially when assessments are due, exams are looming, or there is simply lots to do, and chances are they will answer “Stressed!”

There are well-known techniques that can help you cope with stress such as meditation, yoga or walking the dog, but there are also a couple of yummy ways you can help your brain to take a break!

One of these is by drinking tea, specifically black, green or white teas that come from Camellia sinensis.  Tea contains L-theanine and caffeine.  Whilst you may imagine that caffeine will send your brain into an even worse overdrive, it seems that L-theanine and caffeine work together to give benefits such as increased awareness and relaxation of the mind, without the normal ‘jittery’ side effects of caffeine.  In addition, the research shows that tea can relax the mind without inducing drowsiness.  Don’t you just love tea?

The other food that helps us to cope with stress is dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate contains phytochemicals called flavonoids which have been found to reduce the levels of stress hormones that the adrenal glands secrete.  It seems that when we eat dark chocolate, the brain’s response to stress is similar, but the body’s response is somewhat blunted, resulting in a reduced level of cortisol being produced.  Just remember though that a couple of small squares will do it – chocolate does contain other ingredients such as sugar, fat and calories that you don’t want to overdose on!  Other ways to add in these benefits would be to add some cocoa powder to smoothies, or even to a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

So try adding these to your toolbox of Stress Busters and see how they make you feel!

This article was written by Maxine Steele – Tutor, Level 5 and 7 


Bunch, Dr. T.J. (2014, Mar 6).  Dark chocolate: the perfect snack for stress relief and heart health.  Retrieved from:

Kelly, S.P., Gomez-Ramirez, M., Montesi, J.L. and Foxe, J.J. (2008, Aug 1).  L-Theanine and Caffeine in Combination Affect Human Cognition as Evidenced by Oscillatory alpha-Band Activity and Attention Task Performance.  Retrieved from:

Warner, J. (2009, Nov 13).  Dark chocolate takes bite out of stress.  Retrieved from: