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Drinking tea may stave off cognitive decline
Due to the high content of antioxidants, tea showed the ability to inhibit the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. However, its potential benefits to our health do not end there. Researchers recently discovered that regular tea drinking might be associated with a significant decrease in cognitive decline in elderly age, especially those with a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
New research suggests that regular consumption of tea helps reduce the possibility of deterioration of cognitive function in later life.
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and most often we reach for black tea. Possible benefits of regular consumption of tea are well documented, and a recent study published in The American Journal of Public Health binds them also with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Earlier studies also suggest that drinking tea may have a beneficial effect on the brain, and green tea can have a positive influence on our memory.
The latest study held by Feng Lei and co-workers from the Department of Psychological Medicine at National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine aimed to establish a link between regular tea consumption and cognitive decline.
The results of the study were based on data analysis of 957 Chinese adults at age 55 and more. Researchers in the years 2003-2005 collected information on tea consumption in the research group, taking into account the amount, frequency, and type of tea consumed by participants. Subsequently, the cognitive functions of the participants were assessed every two years. During the analysis, 72 new cases of neurochemical disturbance were identified among the participants.
People who drink tea regularly reduced the risk of cognitive decline to 86%!
Individuals who drink tea regularly reduced by 50% risk of a decline in cognitive function compared to those who drank tea rarely or not at all. Interestingly, among adults with the APOE e4 gene – which is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, those who regularly drink tea have reduced the risk of cognitive decline by as much as 86%.
During the study, the researchers also take into account many other factors that can interfere with cognitive functions including, among others, the emergence of other states of health, social activity of respondents, physical activity and other lifestyle factors that could have an impact on cognitive function.
The researchers note that the benefits for cognitive function of the brain, in particular, been observed in people who consumed tea brewed from the leaves of tea such as green tea, black tea or leaf tea.
This study was not intended to determine the potential mechanisms that drinking tea can have on our brains. But as the author of the survey – Lei, however, shows, the potential benefits for cognitive function, are related to substances that are in the tea known as theaflavins, catechins, thearubigins and L-theanine.
These compounds have a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect, as well as numerous bioactive properties that can influence our brain’s protection against vascular damage and neurodegeneration. Understanding these extraordinary biological mechanisms is still very limited. Therefore it is necessary to carry out more research to help to get the final answer.
However, as can be deduced from recent studies, drinking tea is an affordable and truly enjoyable way to prevent dementia and many other diseases associated with the impaired cognitive function.
As follows from the analysis of the World Health Organization (WHO), up approximately 47.5 million people worldwide living with dementia, and every year, are diagnosed another 7.7 million new cases of the disease. According to estimates, this problem becomes bigger and bigger, and by 2050 the number of people who have dementia can increase up to 135.5 million.
A study by Lei and his team was based on an analysis of the particular group of an adult of Chinese people, but scientists believe that the effect of tea may be similar for other populations and can have a significant impact on the prevention of dementia.
The research related to the search for drugs that will allow for effective pharmacological treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders like dementia is so far at a very early stage, and currently available treatments are not enough. Consequently, tea as one of the most common beverages in the world can turn out to be a solution that will ease the risk of cognitive dysfunction in later life in a simple and very pleasant way.
Researchers are planning to conduct further studies on the relationship between tea and its effects on cognitive function, so we may soon be able to get an effective drug based on healthy bioactive tea compounds.