New research has found evidence to suggest that drinking tea could have a positive effect on the structure of the brain, possibly helping to protect against cognitive decline as people age. The study was led by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) along with the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, UK. The new study looked at 36 healthy participants over the age of 60 years where the participants were classified into two groups according to how much they drank green tea, oolong tea, and black tea around age 45 and at present.
All participants underwent neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure their cognitive functioning and look at their brain structure.
The researchers also gathered data on their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being.
The findings, published in the journal Aging, showed that those who drank green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had better-organised brain regions — which is associated with healthy cognitive function — compared to 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 organisation,” commented team leader assistant professor Feng Lei.
“Take the analogy of road traffic as an example — consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads. When a road system is better organised, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses less resources. Similarly, when the connections between brain regions are more structured, information processing can be performed more efficiently,” explained Feng.
A previous study by Feng also showed that daily tea drinking appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults by 50 percent.
“We have shown in our previous studies that tea drinkers had better cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers. Our current results relating to brain network indirectly support our previous findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea drinking are the result of improved brain organisation brought about by preventing disruption to interregional connections,” he added.
While many like their tea with an infusion of milk and sugar, a number of individuals like it in its pure form be it black, green, or oolong among others.
Key to a good tea experience
1. Buying fresh whole leaf teas is key to savouring delicate tastes and aromas such that the quality and freshness of tea defines a good tea experience.
2. Temperature plays a crucial role in steeping tea. Use boiled water (around 85 C – 95 C). This will effectively bring out all the right flavours and curb the unwanted bitterness.
Over the years, green tea has become a favourite among health enthusiasts for its myriad health benefits. Green tea is a minimally processed tea, which is lightly oxidised. As an anti-bacterial tea, it is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and has innumerable benefits including helping in weight loss, improving body’s metabolism, promoting oral health, exhibiting anti-ageing properties and aiding in reducing the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
A study published online in The FASEB Journal suggested that green tea could help alleviate insulin resistance and cognitive impairment induced by high-fat and high-fructose diets. Some studies also suggested that green tea can help fight off allergies.
Green tea contains compounds such as polyphenol and flavonoids which boosts your immune system. These phytoconstituents act as antimicrobial agents, thereby helping the body fight against infection as well. Moreover, the antioxidants in green tea strengthen and protect the immune system against compounds known as free radicals, which are known to harm living cells and tissues. Regular consumption of green tea flushes out unwanted toxins from the body, thereby helping you have healthy skin.
Though it is well considered that drinking green tea regularly is beneficial for health, it is essential to understand that three to five cups a day is ideal. Over consumption can cause some serious side effects on your body including anemia.
Black tea is fully fermented and that is how it gets its dark hue. Owing to this, it has more amount of caffeine and tannins and a robust flavour. A warm cup of this brew can surely revitalise and energise your lazy mornings. There are other benefits of the tea as well:
* It is extremely rich in caffeine and can help lower the inflammation of the airway, giving relief to asthma patients.
* It can help sharpen attention and improve cognitive skills as the L-theanine present in the brew helps modulate brain function.
* The soothing effect of black tea is a mood booster and enhances the feeling of happiness as it reduces LDL Cholesterol and blood pressure.
Depending on your bodies needs, choose the tea that would benefit you the most. Many say one-two cups a day, without milk or sugar, can really help detoxify the body and mind.
Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants and is also a good source of calcium, manganese, potassium, copper and selenium. Instrumental in weight management and controlling tooth decay, oolong tea should be steeped for at least four minutes to bring out the best flavour.
Oolong Tea activates enzymes that cut down triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood. Oolong tea is more than just a fat burner, though. It also contains niacin, which helps detoxify the body, and antioxidants that can prevent tooth decay.
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