Tea drinking is linked with lower cognitive decline according to a new US meta-analysis just published by the American Society of Nutrition1.
To be included in the analysis, studies had to evaluate tea in relation to cognitive decline. Six studies were included in the analysis. Cognitive function across the six studies was generally measured using the well recognised Mini Mental State Exam and beverage consumption by food frequency questionnaire.
Commenting on this latest published research data, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel notes: “Of particular note is that all the studies in the analysis that included tea in their evaluation found an association with lower cognitive decline. Estimates of cognitive decline conducted for the meta-analysis2 were lower among tea drinkers. Interestingly, the research indicated a stronger effect among women than men.
"Included in the meta analysis was a Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Studies cohort that followed 1408 Chinese men and women drinking black and oolong tea for 1–2 years.3 In this study, total tea intake was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment. Compared with no or rare tea intake, high tea intake (?7 cups) was associated with a 63% reduction in cognitive impairment, medium tea intake (4-6 cups) with 55% reduction and low tea intake (1-3 cups) with a 44% reduction. For cognitive decline, corresponding figures were 43% reduction, 22% and 26%. These effects were most evident for black (fermented) and oolong (semi-fermented) teas, the predominant types consumed by this Singaporean population. In contrast, no association between coffee intake and cognitive status was found. Also to note in this latest research was a Cardiovascular Health Study that included 4809 Americans followed for almost 8 years.4 This study also showed a reduction in cognitive decline at higher levels of tea intake particularly in women.
"Overall, evidence is growing for a link between tea drinking and reduced cognitive decline. This is great news for UK tea drinkers among whom exists this potential benefit of cognitive health maintenance."
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The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.
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1 Arab L, Khan F Lam, H. Epidemiologic Evidence of a Relationship between
Tea, Coffee, or Caffeine Consumption and Cognitive Decline. Adv. Nutr. 4: 115–122, 2013; doi:10.3945/an.112.002717.
2 A meta-analysis involves the calculation of a health outcome by summing together the results of the studies included in the analysis
3 Ng TP, Feng L, Niti M, Kua EH, Yap KB. Tea consumption and cognitive
impairment and decline in older Chinese adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88:224–31.
4 Arab L, Biggs ML, O’Meara ES, Longstreth WT, Crane PK, Fitzpatrick AL. Gender differences in tea, coffee, and cognitive decline in the elderly: the cardiovascular health study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;27:553–66.
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