Love tea? Researchers say drinking the beverage can improve brain health. A study conducted by a team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found the brain regions associated with healthy cognitive function is better organised in tea drinkers than those who don't consume the drink.
"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," study author Feng Lei, an Assistant Professor from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, told a news portal.
Researches came to this conclusion after studying neuroimaging data of 36 older adults. The NUS team collaborated with researchers from the University of Essex and the University of Cambridge to investigate the effects tea has on the brain. The study's findings were originally published in the journal Aging.
For the study, the team collected data - health, well-being, and lifestyle - of 36 participants who were above 60-years-old to investigate if tea has an effect on brain networks.Each person also underwent neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results showed brain regions that were interconnected efficiently were found in those individuals who consumed tea - green tea, oolong tea, and black tea - approximately four times.
"Take the analogy of road traffic as an example -- consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads. 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,"Professor Feng told a news portal.
Adding, "We have shown in our previous studies that tea drinkers had better cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers. Our current results relating to brain network indirectly support our previous findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea drinking are the result of improved brain organisation brought about by preventing disruption to interregional connections."
Previous studies have also found the numerous health benefits humans can derive from consuming tea. Reducing the risk of heart disease and boosting one's mood are some of the health benefits you can expect from consuming a hot cup of tea regularly. A 2017 study also found consuming tea daily can reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults by 50 per cent.
While further research is needed to explore and further understand how memory emerges from brain circuits, the findings could lead to the development of better interventions to improve brain health.
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