Science Says Drinking Tea Can Improve Brain Health
Here's something to sip on. A recent study conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore revealed that regular tea drinkers have better organized brain regions and healthier cognitive functions than non-tea drinkers. "Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure, and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organization," Assistant Professor Feng Lei, Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, told Science Daily. In addition to healthy cognitive function, researchers found that regular tea drinking can also protect the brain from age decline.
The study, which also included researchers from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, UK, studied 36 participants over the age of 60. The participants were asked to assess how much tea they consumed from age 45 to the present day, including varieties such as green tea, oolong tea, and black tea. In order to assess participants' cognitive functions, researchers had them undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at their brain structure. Researchers found that participants who drank tea at least four times a week for at least two decades had improved brain functions, which also protected against cognitive age decline.
There are three key ingredients in tea that are attributed to these health benefits—catechin, L-theanine, and caffeine. According to the study, catechin is linked to "enhancements in memory recognition and working memory performance" and L-theanine can reduce "stress-induced heart rates." Caffeine levels in tea have long been touted for improved cognitive functioning as well.