I like to write about health and how to stay healthy by making smart decisions.
Everyone has heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it’s time to coin a new saying, “A cup of tea every day keeps dementia at bay.” That’s what a study released by the National University of Singapore in the June 14, 2019 edition of the medical journal Aging concluded. Like other organs in the body, the brain is affected by the foods and drinks a person consumes. Certain foods and drinks have a positive impact on brain function when consumed in sufficient quantities. Medical researchers found green, black, and oolong tea to be one of the most positive things a person can consume to keep their memory intact and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life. These teas can also alleviate symptoms of dementia for older persons afflicted by it.
The Connection Researchers Found Between Tea Consumption and Brain Health
The National University of Singapore study found that adults over sixty years of age who drank tea regularly had better organization in areas of their brains that perform cognitive functions than those that did not drink tea regularly. It found improvements in memory recall and a diminished chance of developing dementia as regular tea drinkers aged. The study concluded that benefits to brain function associated with regular tea consumption were found in persons sixty years or older who drank green, black, or oolong tea at least four times per week for at least twenty-five years. If you want to have a cognitively healthy brain when you are older than sixty, start drinking tea regularly when you are younger. Of course, it is never too late to start drinking tea, as there appear to be immediate benefits to older people that drink tea regularly. So, even if you are over sixty years of age, your brain health will benefit from regular tea consumption.
It is important to note that the National University of Singapore study regarding the benefits of regular tea consumption is a confirmation of a growing body scientific studies that have linked tea drinking to positive impacts for the brain. Prior studies similarly found that regular tea consumption aided in maintaining good brain function and memory.
How Tea Prevents Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease
The mystery surrounding what causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is starting to unravel. Medical research has zeroed in on plaques that slowly build up in the brain over time and eventually interfere with communication between synapses within the brain. As the plaques grow, they disrupt brain functions including memory recall, which can lead to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers found that a flavonoid constituent of green, black, and oolong tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) binds itself to proteins in the brain that form plaque, preventing brain-debilitating plaque from forming. The prevention of plaque formation prevents the root cause of memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. This is why it is important to drink green, black, or oolong tea regularly for years before reaching an advanced age.
These findings were confirmed by a medical study that was featured in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2012. Study participants were given green tea or a placebo drink. The participant’s brains were assessed using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. MRI images found a significant increase in brain activity in participants that were given green tea to drink versus those given a placebo drink. Researchers also found larger increases in brain activity in participants that were provided larger doses of green tea than other participants.
Additional Health Benefits Associated With Drinking Tea Regularly
Helping the brain to function optimally and reducing the chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are only two of the health benefits of drinking green, black, or oolong tea regularly. A variety of medical studies have concluded drinking tea regularly, specifically green tea, has the following positive medical impacts:
- Reduces free radicals and inflammation that cause cancer
- Reducing free radicals has the additional benefit of slowing the aging process
- Boosts the immune system and helps it fend off infections caused by viruses and bacteria
- Helps prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of having a stroke by reducing bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and lowering blood pressure
- Improves alertness and mood
- Increases the rate of metabolism in some people which increases weight loss
- Decreases type 2 diabetes risk
- Improves dental hygiene and prevents cavities
Some Of The Many Green Tea Health Benefits
Bigelow Green Tea with Ginger and probiotics is a readily available tea that provides the health benefits of drinking green tea and is one I like to drink regularly to benefit from its multifaceted health benefits. Green tea might not be the sweetest or most flavorful tea, but it is a hardy drink that tastes good hot or cold. There are many varieties of green tea with various flavors such as mint that appeal to different people's tastes.
A daily cup of tea can reduce the risk of dementia
Stick To Natural Sources of EGCG and Avoid Supplements To Avoid Health Complications
If you are not a fan of drinking tea, you can obtain beneficial EGCG from fruits such as strawberries and apples or nuts such as pecans or hazelnuts. It is not a good idea to take an EGCG supplement since EGCG can be harmful when ingested in high amounts via supplements. Excessive EGCG intake has been linked to liver damage and failure. Such cases have involved persons who took EGCG supplements, as supplements provide it in much higher concentrations than natural sources. Taking EGCG supplements can also affect iron intake by the body and should be avoided by anyone with an iron deficiency. They should also be avoided by pregnant women and children. It is best to just rely upon natural sources of EGCG to obtain its health benefits.
A Study That Linked Tea and Ferulic Acid Consumption To Alzheimer’s Disease Recovery
A study conducted at the University of Southern California that was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in February 2019 found that mice that were given specific ingredients from green tea and carrots were able to recover from dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
A group of mice was genetically altered to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers had the mice undergo a series of neuropsychological tests both before and after being given EGCG from green tea along with a substance called ferulic acid (FA) from carrots for a period of three months. Both of these ingredients were suspected of being able to prevent and reverse dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As a control, Alzheimer’s disease affected mice were tested alongside healthy mice that were not given EGCG and FA. After three months of receiving EGCG and FA, the Alzheimer’s disease affected mice performed just as well as the healthy control group mice when working on memory tests, indicating that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease disappeared.
These findings indicate that EGCG and FA are capable of reversing Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Whether or not these ingredients from green tea and carrots can also reverse dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease in humans remains to be determined. However, given other research that indicates benefits to brain health and memory associated with drinking green tea on a regular basis, it is likely that consuming food that contains FA along with green tea will benefit humans that either have the potential to develop or currently have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Green Tea Consumption Poll
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 John Coviello
John Coviello (author) from New Jersey on November 04, 2019:
Liz, I'm glad you found this article about tea to be a useful reminder regarding the benefits of drinking green tea.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 25, 2019:
In recent years green tea has increased a lot in popularity in the UK and there are now a lot of flavoured varieties. Thanks for reminding me of its benefits and encouraging me to drink more of it.