2020 applicants
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Drinking tea improves brain health, researchers find

  • Date

    Mon 16 Sep 19

cup of tea

Regular tea drinkers might have better brain efficiency compared to non-tea drinkers, a study involving Essex researchers has found.

The research, led by the National University of Singapore (NUS), found that regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions – and this is associated with healthy cognitive function – compared to non-tea drinkers. The research team made this discovery after examining neuroimaging data of 36 older adults.

The research, published in scientific journal Aging, offers the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests that drinking tea regularly has a positive effect against age-related decline in brain organisation.

“Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure, and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organisation,” explained lead researcher Assistant Professor Feng Lei, from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s Department of Psychological Medicine.

The research also involved Dr Junhua Li, from Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, and collaborators from the University of Cambridge.

The research team recruited 36 adults aged 60 and above, and gathered data about their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being. The elderly participants also had to undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

After analysing the participants’ cognitive performance and imaging results, the research team found that individuals who consumed either green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had brain regions that were interconnected in a more efficient way.

“Take the analogy of road traffic as an example - consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads,” added Assistant Professor Prof Feng. “When a road system is better organised, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses less resources. Similarly, when the connections between brain regions are more structured, information processing can be performed more efficiently."