Age-related cognitive decline is unfortunately a continuously growing condition. This is why research is focusing on possible treatments to prevent or stem it. More and more scientific evidence shows that lifestyle and diet can have a protective role on the brain. As for tea, it is known that this drink has a neuroprotective effect, however little is known of its action on cognitive function as there are still few studies available. The research we are talking about today focuses on the ability of tea, and green tea in particular, to prevent cognitive impairment. The work was published a few weeks ago in the BMC Geriatrics journal (Zhang et al, BMC Geriatrics, 2020).
The researchers recruited nearly 5,400 people, average age 56. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to understand their tea drinking habits over the past five years, indicating how often they drank the tea and the type of tea, black, green or other types. Not only that, the cognitive functionality of the participants was assessed by subjecting them to specially designed tests, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). What emerged was that those who habitually consumed more tea in general had a lower risk of experiencing cognitive impairment. Not only that, among all the different types of tea, those who drank green tea could count on greater protection as regards cognitive functions. The authors of the study trace this beneficial effect of tea to its content in catechins, which are powerful antioxidants. Green tea is the tea with the highest content of catechins which are believed to act on the brain through multiple processes. Firstly, they counteract the damage of free radicals, then they modulate the signals transmitted between cells and then act as chelators for metals, thus blocking their toxicity and promoting their elimination.