(Natural News) Drinking tea regularly may help boost cognitive function among older adults, suggest researchers from the National University of Singapore, University of Essex, University of Cambridge and Wuyi University in China.
The study published in the journal Aging found that the brain regions were better interconnected, which made the processing of information more efficient.
“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,” added Feng Lei, the team leader of the study.
Better brain organization explains improved cognition by tea
Studies previously connected tea-drinking with improved cognitive function. Feng, for one, conducted a study with his colleagues that examined the effects of drinking tea on the brain. They found that those who drank tea reduced their risk of dementia by 50 percent. Meanwhile, tea drinkers who possessed the APOE4 gene variant – a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease – reduced their risk of cognitive decline by as much as 86 percent.
Despite their findings, however, Feng notes that they were not able to uncover how and why drinking tea regularly can benefit the brain among the participants.
The present study, on the other hand, offers an answer to this question.
The researchers compared the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of regular tea drinkers to those of non-tea drinkers. All participants were aged 60 and above. They also took neuropsychological tests while their health, lifestyle and psychological well-being were collected.
The team found that those who drank either green tea, oolong tea or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had brain regions that were more efficiently interconnected. (Related: Food science: Green tea is a safe natural remedy for brain hemorrhage.)
Feng compared their finding with road traffic. In this analogy, brain regions are the destinations while the connections between the regions are the roads. An organized road system allows vehicles to move efficiently and to use fewer resources. In the same manner, brain connections are more structured, resulting in more efficient processing of information.
The study’s results not only show the relationship between regular consumption of tea and brain health – they may partly explain how tea can boost cognitive function. According to Feng, the positive effects of regular tea drinking are due to better brain organization that is caused by preventing disruption to inter-regional connections. Feng believes the present study indirectly supports the findings of his earlier study.
More benefits of drinking tea regularly
Tea can also reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that compounds in green tea are linked to lower risk of certain cancer types. A study found that women who drank green tea the most decreased their risk of developing breast cancer by 20–30 percent. An analysis of 29 studies also discovered that green tea drinkers are about 42 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can help protect against oxidative damage. Many studies have linked cancer to long-term oxidative damage, as the latter can harm cells, proteins and DNA.
In addition, green tea helps prevent Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that it can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce high blood sugar levels. Furthermore, a study that sampled Japanese individuals found that those who drank green tea the most had about 42 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, green tea drinkers can reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 31 percent. That’s because green tea helps improve risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as bad cholesterol levels.
Learn more about the benefits of drinking tea at Superfoods.news.