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Updated 12 February 2016

Tea really can calm your nerves

Researchers produced evidence to support what most Britons are famously certain of - that a cup of tea is the answer to any crisis.

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Dr Malcolm Cross, a psychologist at City University London, tested the anxiety levels of a group of people following a stressful situation and revealed that even a single cuppa has a significant calming effect.

His team gave 42 volunteers a mental arithmetic exam and afterwards offered half of them a cup of tea and the other half a glass of water.

The water group's anxiety levels soared by 25% compared to before the task, while the tea group actually reported a 4% reduction in anxiety - despite the taxing test, they were more relaxed than when they started.

68% of Britons medicate with tea

According to a survey carried out for the research, 68% of Britons turn to tea in a dilemma, making it Britain's most common response to trouble of whatever kind.

About 60% said the promise of comfort and warmth was the main reason for putting the kettle on, but 48% said they found calm through the drink's association with Britain and cultural icons such as the Queen.

"The ritual of making and drinking tea - particularly during times of stress - is at the very core of British culture," Cross said.

"This study shows that the social psychological aspects of tea enhance the effects of its chemical make-up on our bodies and brains.

"It's possible that this culturally rooted, symbiotic function between mind and body explains why Britons instinctively turn to tea in times of need."

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The wonders of tea

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