A paper published in the journal Aging and conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore, Wuyi University in China, the University of Essex in the UK and the University of Cambridge looked at the difference between the brain structure of tea drinkers v. non tea drinkers. The results suggest that tea has a positive effect on age-related decline in brain organisation.
Brain regions that were more efficiently interconnected
The study was comprised of 36 participants, aged 60 and over, who were divided into tea and non-tea drinkers. Those that drank tea consumed either green tea, black tea or oolong tea at least 4 times a week over a period of 25 years. The neuroimaging data collected showed that the tea drinkers had brain regions that were more efficiently interconnected, in other words better organised. Better organised brains are associated with healthier cognitive function.
Another way to think of it is to use road traffic as an analogy - brain regions are the destinations and the connections between those regions are the roads. If the road system is better organised then the movement of vehicles is more efficient. In the same vein, when the connections between brain regions are better organised, information processing can be performed more efficiently.
Tea intake already linked to mood improvement and cardiovascular disease prevention
Assistant Professor, Feng Lui, lead author of the current study, published a previous study back in 2017 that showed daily consumption of tea can reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older people by 50%. This supports additional past studies that have demonstrated tea intake is beneficial to health with positive effects including mood improvement and cardiovascular disease prevention.
Due to the fact that cognitive performance and brain organisation are closely related, the research team made a point to note that more investigation is needed to understand how brain circuitry underpins something like memory. This could lead onto the discovery of possible interventions to preserve cognition during the ageing process.
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