Your daily cup of tea may do more than kick start your day. Scientists from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine have found another reason to drink up.
Results from a long-term study involving over 950 Chinese subjects showed that regular consumption of tea could lower the risk of cognitive decline by 50%, and subjects who were genetically at risk for Alzheimer’s disease may have up to an 86% reduced risk of cognitive impairment. According to the lead researcher, Assistant Professor Feng Lei, bioactive compounds found in tea leaves such as catechins and L-theanine are what give tea its cognitive-boosting benefits. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect the brain from blood vessel damage and neurodegeneration.
Whether you prefer green, black or oolong tea, you’ll get the same brain-protecting benefits as long as your brew is made from loose-leaf tea and you’re consuming at least 1 cup per day. While the study was conducted on Chinese subjects, Feng believes the benefits could apply to other races. In the future, the researchers plan to dig deeper into the effects of the Asian diet on cognitive health, including more rigorous testing of tea’s bioactive compounds.