According to the UK’s Tea Advisory Panel, people around the world drink more tea than anything else except water. Many studies have suggested drinking tea is good for your health, both physical and mental. And now researchers have discovered regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions than non-tea drinkers (well-organised brain regions are associated with healthy cognitive function – which is something we all need, especially as we get older).
Led by Assistant Professor Feng Lei at the National University of Singapore, the study may have been a small scale one but it’s allegedly the first to find links between tea drinking and brain structure. Indeed according to Asst Prof Feng his findings suggest drinking tea on a regular basis may protect against age-related decline in brain organisation.
Published in the journal Ageing, the study followed 36 adults aged 60 and older from 2015 to 2018, examining information about their health, lifestyle and psychological wellbeing, as well as subjecting them to neuropsychological tests and MRI scans. The researchers discovered those who drank tea – whether black, green or oolong – at least four times a week for about 25 years had more efficient connections in their brain regions.
Asst Prof Feng put it like this: “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.”
He then went on to say: “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.”
Drinking tea may not make you a genius, but if you drink it regularly it may help keep your mental functioning sharp. That’s a pretty good excuse to put the kettle on, right?