Study Shows Link Between Tea and Brain Health

Researchers from the National University of Singapore in collaboration with their counterparts from the University of Essex and the University of Cambridge have identified one of the benefits of drinking tea to be better brain organization. Better brain organization is closely linked to enhanced cognitive function and the findings, the result of an experiment involving 36 elderly adults, were published in Aging, a scientific journal.

Assistant Professor Feng Lei, taking the role of the team leader of the study and who is from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine was enthusiastic about the results saying,

“Our results offer the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggest that  benefits of drinking tea regularly includes a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organization.

Follow Up Study on Tea and Brain Health

The study is a follow up to recent efforts that proved chemicals found in tea had a direct link to improving psychological wellbeing by lifting the mood and promoting heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A recent initial look into the benefits of tea had shown its compounds had the ability to protect the brain from cognitive decline associated with old age by 50%. These promising results, also involving Professor Feng, spurred researchers on and they pinpointed brain networks as an area of interest leading to the subsequent study.

Professor Feng Lei’s team worked with 36 individuals all aged above 60 years and ran for the better part of three years. Data related to overall health, psychological markers and lifestyle patterns were collected and investigated with neuropsychological tests and IMR scans carried out. A comprehensive analysis of the collected data revealed that those who had regularly drunk green, black or oolong tea for over 25 years showed more efficient connections between major brain regions as compared to those who did not practice the habit.

Professor Feng used an interesting analogy to explain the significance of the findings as he said,

“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 organized, 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.

He added that the results were consistent with previous studies that had proven a link between and asserted that the new discovery gave a reason to these findings as enhanced brain organization was the reason behind improved cognitive ability.

Implications of Study on Tea and Brain Health

The new discovery can be the green light for more in-depth studies to investigate the active substances in tea that promote cognitive function and protect from decline and how they can be applied to fight conditions associated with aging. In the meantime, tea lovers can continue imbibing in their favorite drink for better brain health.