Tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, including those who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's disease, finds a study from Singapore's (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
The study, involving 957 Chinese adults aged 55 years or older found that regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50 per cent, while APOE e4 gene carriers who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease may experience a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by as much as 86 per cent.
The research team also discovered that the neuroprotective role of tea drinking on cognitive function is not limited to a particular type of tea. Green, black and oolong teas were all protective.
While the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well the researchers noted.
Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from the study suggest 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.
Phytochemicals in green, black and oolong tea protective
Tea’s beneficial effects are believed to be due to natural compounds in tea leaves, including catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties thought to protect brain cells. They may also protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.
For the study, tea consumption information was collected from community-living elderly from 2003 to 2005. Participants’ cognitive function was assessed using standardized tools every two years until 2010. Information on lifestyles, medical conditions, physical and social activities were also collected.
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