Regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions — associated with healthy cognitive function — compared to non-tea drinkers.
A study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) showed this after they examined the brains of 36 older adults.
“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 team leader assistant professor Feng Lei, who is from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Previous research has shown the benefits of tea in improving mood and preventing heart disease.
The research team recruited the 36 adults aged 60 and above, between 2015 and 2018, gathered data about their health, lifestyle, and psychological well-being. From the study, 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. 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,” explained Prof Feng.
The research was carried out together with collaborators from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, and the findings were published in scientific journal Aging on June 14.