- Regular intake of tea can reduce the risk of dementia especially in those who are predisposed to the disease.
- All types of tea exhibit the neuroprotective effect as long as they are brewed from the leaves.
- Long-term benefit of tea consumption may occur due to the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine.
It is not a myth that 'tea is good for your health'. Tea is known to support healthy digestion. It relaxes concentration and reduces stress. A recent study also brings out the benefits of tea associated with dementia.
It holds significance as the benefit is more pronounced in those who are predisposed to dementia.
Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and is considered a wonder drink. Tea originates from Camellia sinensis, a native of East and South Asia.
The data from the 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
, researchers said.
Tea Lovers May be At Reduced Risk of Dementia
Researchers at National University of Singapore (NUS) enrolled 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older for the study. Details on tea consumption were collected from the participants, who are community-living elderly, from 2003 to 2005.
At regular intervals of two years, these seniors were assessed on their cognitive function using standardized tools until 2010.
Information on lifestyles, medical conditions, physical and social activities was also collected. Those potential confounding factors were carefully controlled in statistical models to ensure the robustness of the findings.
There is a wide range of tea such as green, black, oolong, turmeric or kombucha tea. The neuroprotective role of tea consumption on cognitive function is not limited to a particular type of tea as long as they are brewed from the leaves.
Regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50 percent
, while those genetically at risk of Alzheimer's disease may experience a reduction in cognitive impairment by up to 86 percent
"While the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well," said Assistant Professor Feng Lei from NUS.
They said this long-term benefit of tea consumption may be 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 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," said Lei.
How to Brew Tea?
Tea brewing is actually an art. It is best to use fresh water for boiling and keep the lid covered while steeping.
Each tea has an ideal steep time that may vary from 1 - 10 minutes. Steep time refers to the submerging of tea in hot water. The perfect steep time enhances the tea's character, flavor, color and the availability of antioxidants.
Certain types of tea such as green tea and white tea need not be boiled but can be steeped in warm water for 2 - 4 minutes. Others like oolong and herbal tea must be boiled for 5 -7 minutes and black tea for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Feng Lei et al., NUS study: Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive decline, The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging (2016).