Researchers at the National University of Singapore have found a new link between drinking tea and brain benefits. The team, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, suggests that regular tea drinking resulted in “better organized” brain structures when compared to non-tea drinkers. The results of the research have been published in the journal Aging.
The leader of the team, Dr. Feng Lei, is a researcher in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NSU Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Dr. Feng Lei said of the study, “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 organization.”
For the study, the researchers recruited 36 adults who were 60 years of age or older. All but six of the participants were female. The participants were split into two groups: tea drinkers who consumed tea frequently (15 people) and non-tea drinkers who rarely or never drank any type of tea (21 people). There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding the amount of coffee that they consumed.
The participants were quizzed about their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being. They were also subjected to cognitive tests and MRI scans. The scientists compared the results of the neuropsychological and cognitive measures between the two groups. During their review, the researchers found that participants who drank either green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week for around 25 years had “greater efficiency in functional and structural connectivities due to increased global network efficiency.”
This is not the first study to uncover a link between tea drinking and brain health. Previous studies have found that drinking tea reduced a patient’s risk of dementia, reduced depressive symptoms, enhanced attention, and increased alertness. However, this study is believed to be the first to examine the effect of tea on brain networks. Drinking tea regularly has also been associated with lower cancer incidence, cardiovascular disease prevention, and reduced mortality.