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Tea for a Healthy Brain

Posted April 05, 2017 11:00 AM by MaggieMc

A while back, I wrote a blog about the calories incurred when you add things like sugar or milk to your coffee or tea. After that, my father expressed horror at my drinking four cups of tea by the middle of the afternoon. (Some was decaf, I swear.)

According to a study from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, all that tea may be benefiting my brain—although I might not be aware of it for a while. The longitudinal study involved almost a thousand Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older, and it found that regular consumption of tea “lowers the risk of cognitive decline by 50 percent,” and for those with a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, it lowers the risk by as much as 86 percent.

The researchers determined that it took a little less than drinking an 8 oz. cup of your favorite tea once a day to see these kinds of results—although, it’s worth noting that the “results” were a lack of change in cognitive function, so drinking tea before an IQ test probably won’t help your cognitive functioning.

Assistant Professor Feng Lei, the study’s lead researcher, was particularly excited that “a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders late in life,” especially because preventive strategies for Alzheimer’s are widely contested.

According to Feng Lei, the benefit is likely due to “the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins, and L-theanine,” which may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.

Going back to our tea-and-coffee-additives discussion, adding milk to tea reduces the absorption of catechin, meaning that adding that bit of milk could diminish the benefits.

The researchers are planning to conduct more studies to further understand the impact of Asian diet on cognitive health in aging, while continuing to pay specific attention to the benefits of tea.

Image credit: NUS News

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#1

Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 11:56 AM

What form of tea? Whole leaves only? Green tea only? What of tea bags of mostly black pekoe?

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#2
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 12:16 PM

The research seemed to state that any kind of tea had a beneficial result (black, green, etc.); however, the researchers were planning to conduct more in depth research, so they may identify varying degrees of benefits down the road.

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#4
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 12:24 PM

Ah okay. Good. I'm a tea drinker (and some coffee too), but I prefer the black pekoe for the taste. Not too keen on green tea.

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#6
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 10:06 PM

Any kind, excellent! I will start drinking long island iced teas immediately.

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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 12:23 PM

"The research team also discovered that the neuroprotective role of tea consumption on cognitive function is not limited to a particular type of tea – so long as the tea is brewed from tea leaves, such as green, black or oolong tea."

https://examine.com/supplements/theaflavins/

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#14
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/07/2017 12:44 AM

The study considered only teas from camelia leaves.

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#5

Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/05/2017 1:08 PM

I like tea,... green tea,... with sugar..... lots of sugar.... more,.... more,.... there you go.

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#10
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 10:13 AM

Best switch to honey. Sugar might be counter productive.

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#7

Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 6:07 AM

Only 4 cups by mid-afternoon, what a lightweight.

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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 6:36 AM

Yeah, tell me about it. Definite lightweight.

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#9

Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 8:36 AM

I wonder if drinking both coffee and tea during the day have added benefits, or if one detracts from the other? I usually start the day off with decaf coffee mixed with a little regular coffee and then drink tea in the afternoon.

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#12
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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 11:56 AM

There was an interesting program on the BBC UK about Decaf, some of them apparently (the cheaper ones) use chemicals to remove the caffeine....not good!

I take my coffee as it was originally made!!

I also find that Decaf (when I first moved to Germany), in spite of being in a sealed container, in the fridge, needs throwing out if it gets more than a week old, whereas normal coffee, doesn't!!

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Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 1:17 PM

You're probably right, it would probably make better sense to just go with the regular coffee for those reasons you cite.

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#11

Re: Tea for a Healthy Brain

04/06/2017 11:18 AM

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Andrew Westman (2); Andy Germany (1); IanR (1); jack of all trades (1); Janissaries (1); jhowdy (1); MaggieMc (1); Nigh (1); phoenix911 (1); SolarEagle (1); terrapin (2); truth is not a compromise (1)

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