Credit: © at_shoots / Fotolia

Credit: © at_shoots / Fotolia

One cup of tea a day can fight cognitive decline and dementia

One cup of tea a day can fight cognitive decline, according to new research from the University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of tea to sooth the soul and relieve stress after a long day. Tea is an long standing tradition, dating back to when ancient civilizations boiled roots, herbs and leaves in water to create a nutritious, healthful liquid.

According to the new study, drinking tea reduces the risk of cognitive decline by up to as much as 50 percent, and up to 86 percent for those who have a genetic risk of Alzheimer’s.

The research team also found that the benefits are not limited to one certain type of tea, and that any tea brewed for black, green, or oolong leaves worked well.

While the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well. Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention. Despite high quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory. Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life,” explained Asst Prof Feng.

He added, “Based on current knowledge, this long term benefit of tea consumption is due to the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration. Our understanding of the detailed biological mechanisms is still very limited so we do need more research to find out definitive answers.”

The study abstract reported the following results in more scientific detail:

A total of 72 incident NCD cases were identified from the cohort. Tea intake was associated with lower risk of incident NCD, independent of other risk factors. Reduced NCD risk was observed for both green tea (OR=0.43) and black/oolong tea (OR=0.53) and appeared to be influenced by the changing of tea consumption habit at follow-up. Using consistent nontea consumers as the reference, only consistent tea consumers had reduced risk of NCD (OR=0.39). Stratified analyses indicated that tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of NCD among females (OR=0.32) and APOE e4 carriers (OR=0.14) but not males and non APOE e4 carriers.

The study authors concluded: “Regular tea consumption was associated with lower risk of neurocognitive disorders among Chinese elderly. Gender and genetic factors could possibly modulate this association.”

The study showing that one cup of tea a day can fight cognitive decline was published in The Journal Of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Daily Consumption of Tea Protects the Elderly from Cognitive Decline.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
2. “Daily Cuppa Keeps Dementia at Bay.” NUS News. National University of Singapore, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
3. “Tea Consumption Reduces the Incidence of Neurocognitive Disorders: Findings from the Singapore Longitudinal Aging Study.” SpringerLink. Springer Paris, 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

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