Daily tea consumption protects against cognitive decline

Posted Apr 2, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Does the regular consumption of tea help to off-set cognitive decline? A new study indicates tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older people by 50 per cent.
A competition judge takes a sip of milk tea during judging in the Hong Kong Style Milk Tea internati...
A competition judge takes a sip of milk tea during judging in the Hong Kong Style Milk Tea international final held during the 2016 Hong Kong International Tea Fair on August 13, 2016
Tengku Bahar, AFP/File
The same research further suggests that tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive decline by as much as 86 per cent for those who are genetically at risk of Alzheimer's disease (defined as APOE e4 gene carriers). The two measures come from the Department of Psychological Medicine at National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, from a research project led by Professor Feng Lei.
The findings relating to tea drinking stem from a longitudinal study (conducted between 2003 and 2010). the study tracked 957 Chinese seniors , who were aged 55 years or older at the start of the study. Throughout the study tea drinking habits together with information on lifestyles, medical conditions, physical and social activities were collected in relation to each participant.
On reviewing the data, the researchers suggest that tea imparts a neuroprotective effect. There appeared no particular pattern for any type of tea, provided it was brewed from tea leaves (from Camellia sinensis, the evergreen shrub native to Asia). The protective effect appears to arise from a combination of bioactive compounds in tea leaves, including catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine. The compounds probably exhibit an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect protecting the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.
Commenting on his research, Professor Yoo Lin surmises: "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."
The research outcomes are published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, in a research paper titled "Tea consumption reduces the incidence of neurocognitive disorders: Findings from the Singapore longitudinal aging study."