Dementia is a global concern
Dementia is a broad umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders. It is a global concern due to our aging population. The Alzheimer’s Society (2015) reports there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. Of these, approximately, 40,000 are people with young onset dementia, which affects people under the age of 65. As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia. It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million. Whilst rates of diagnosis have improved, it is widely believed that dementia is still significantly underdiagnosed.
Drinking tea can lower risk of cognitive impairment by 50%
However a new study has claimed that drinking tea could help protect you from developing dementia. The scientists leading the research say drinking tea can lower the risk of cognitive impairment by an extraordinary 50% - and the risk fell by as much as 86% for older adults with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease.
The reason can be attributed to bioactive compounds contained within tea - and this goes for both black and green tea. The compounds improve memory and prevent brain cells from dying.
The study was conducted at the National University of Singapore and included more than 900 Chinese seniors aged 55 and older.
The researchers began the study in 2003, collecting data on the amount of tea they drank and assessing their cognitive function every two years until 2010. They also collected information on lifestyle, medical conditions as well as physical and social activity.
Out of the 900 participants only 72 developed a neurocognitive disorder however the team found that participants reduced their of risk of these disorders by 50% when they drank two or more cups of green or black/oolong tea per day.
Bioactive properties protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration
The health giving, bioactive compounds in the tea leaves responsible for these remarkable effects are catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine.
Dr Feng Lei, an assistant professor of psychological medicine at the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine said:
"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.
"These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration."
Other studies support health benefits
Other studies have also supported the health benefits that comes with tea drinking - a study conducted in 2016 reported a 20% reduction in the risk of a heart attack and a 35% reduction in risk of stroke among those people who drank between 1 and 3 cups of green tea per day.
Those who drank 4 or more cups of green tea daily had a 32% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol, or 'bad' cholesterol.
And Japanese researchers have found that tea can decrease tooth loss. The beverage changes the pH levels in your mouth when you drink it, which may be what prevents cavities.
Scientist have further claimed that drinking tea could help combat the onset of type 2 diabetes. When tea is consumed it helps to smooth out spikes in blood sugar levels that occur when you snack on something sweet. In a study from the Tea Advisory Panel, it was found to significantly reduce the amount of glucose in the blood of adults who were given sucrose-laden drinks beforehand. Experts believe this blood sugar leveling effect is down to polyphenols, powerful compounds which work by blocking the absorption of sugar.