Tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older people by 50 percent and as much as 86 percent for those genetically at risk of Alzheimer’s, says a study from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.
The study, involving 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older, found that regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly by 50 percent, while those who are genetically at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as carriers of the APOE e4 gene may see a reduction in cognitive impairment risk by as much as 86 percent. The research team also discovered that the role of tea consumption in 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.
“Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention. Despite high-quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory. Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. 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,” the researchers wrote.
The study said the long-term benefit of tea consumption stems from the bioactive compounds in tea leaves, including catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine, compounds whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.
The research team is planning to embark on further studies to better understand the impact of Asian diets on cognitive health in aging. The team is also keen to investigate the effects of the bioactive compounds in tea and test them more rigorously through an assessment of their biological markers. They plan to conduct randomised, controlled studies that assign participants into experimental groups or control groups to eliminate biased results.
Source: Channel News Asia
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