Can a cup of tea a day keep Alzheimer’s at bay?
A new study looked into how drinking tea can affect our cognitive function and ward off degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s.
The study, conducted using 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 and over, found that regular consumption of tea – green, oolong and black, could lower the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly population.
According to results, participants who carried the gene APOE e4, making them genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s, reported a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by nearly 86 per cent.
“While the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well. Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention. Despite high quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory,” explained Assistant Professor Feng.
“Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life.”
He added, “Based on current knowledge, this long term benefit of tea consumption is due to the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration. Our understanding of the detailed biological mechanisms is still very limited so we do need more research to find out definitive answers.”
In response to the study, Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said that while the results were comforting to those who enjoy a daily cup of tea, “so far the research linking the two has been inconclusive.”
“This study identifies useful information about tea-drinking and cognitive function that warrants further investigation, but we are a long way off understanding the effect that Britain’s favourite past-time has on our brain health.
“Evidence shows that the best ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia are keeping a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking and keeping as physically active as possible.”
The research team published their findings in scientific journal The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging in December 2016.
Read about other health benefits of tea here.