Can a cup of tea a day keep dementia away?
Let’s have a cup of tea shall we?
Any time is good for tea – a warm aromatic beverage with comforting properties which makes us feel good.
But the benefits of tea go far beyond comfort, providing us with many other health benefits.
New research from Singapore suggests that tea reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in mature aged people by 50 per cent and as much as 86 per cent in those who are genetically at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is a debilitating disease and more than 413,106 Australians are living with it. Despite high drug trials, there have been no satisfactory pharmacological therapies or prevention strategies for dementia.
The team discovered that the neuroprotective role of tea on cognitive function was not limited to a particular type of tea as long as the tea was brewed from tea leaves.
A longitudinal study which involved 957 community-living Chinese seniors who were cognitively intact aged 55 years and older, analysed data which collected tea consumption information at baseline from 2003 to 2005. The number of incident cases of neurocognitive disorders (NCD) was ascertained from 2006 to 2010 at two yearly intervals using standardised tools. Various other information regarding lifestyle, medical issues and physical and social activities was also collected and incorporated in the study.
The study found a total of 72 incident NCD cases. The researchers reported that regular tea consumption lowers the risk of cognitive decline by 50 per cent. This reduced risk was observed for both green tea and black/oolong tea and the risk appeared to be influenced by changing tea drinking habits at follow up.
The team discovered that this protective role of tea was not limited to a particular type of tea as long as the tea was brewed from tea leaves.
Compared to non-tea drinkers, only consistent tea drinkers had a reduced risk of NCD while APOE e4 carriers who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease may experience a risk reduction by as much as 86 per cent.
The long term benefits of drinking tea are due to the bioactive ingredients present in tea leaves such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature and protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.
This study does not provide a detailed analysis of the biological processes that taken place after tea consumption and how it helps to reduce the risk of dementia.
Needless to say, the simple habit of drinking tea every day is an inexpensive way to reduce the risk of developing neurocognitive disorders later in life and being able to benefit from tea in many ways.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get a cuppa!
Source: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging