Great news, tea lovers! Study finds regular cuppas improve brain health

Sep 18, 2019
Regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions compared to non-tea drinkers. Source: Getty

Most people love a good cup of tea, but the benefits of a cuppa go far beyond refreshment – drinking tea improves brain health. New research has found that regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions compared to non-tea drinkers.

Led by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) along with the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, the study, published in scientific journal Aging, found that those who consumed either green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week had brain regions that were connected in a more efficient way.

“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 organisation,” team leader Assistant Professor Feng Lei explained.

The research team recruited 36 adults aged 60 and above, and gathered data about their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being. The elderly participants also had to undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the study that was conducted from 2015 to 2018.

“Take the analogy of road traffic as an example – consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads,” he said. “When a road system is better organised, 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.”

Lei, who has previously published findings on the links between tea consumption and overall human health, added: “We have shown in our previous studies that tea drinkers had better cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers. Our current results relating to brain network indirectly support our previous findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea drinking are the result of improved brain organisation brought about by preventing disruption to interregional connections.”

Meanwhile, it comes after a study by Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in collaboration with The University of Western Australia discovered some benefits to dragging yourself out of bed early, claiming morning exercise mitigates the impact of prolonged sitting on brain blood flow in those aged between 55 and 80-years-old.

According to results published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, morning exercise should be a top priority for Aussies to help prevent the slowing down in brain blood flow associated with ageing. Through thorough research, scientists discovered the negative effects of prolonged sitting compared to the positive results seen in those who made an effort to exercise in the morning.

“We demonstrated that prolonged sitting is associated with a pattern of decline across the day, however, when participants performed a morning bout of exercise with or without subsequent breaks in sitting, cerebral blood velocity improved in the afternoon several hours after exercise,” Baker Institute’s Michael Wheeler explained.

“Our findings provide further supportive evidence that uninterrupted sitting should be avoided, and moderate-intensity exercise should be encouraged for the daily maintenance of cerebral blood flow.”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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