Green tea has been used medicinally by Asian cultures for centuries, and now scientific studies are indicating just how beneficial it can be. Just one of the areas where it’s thought to have an effect is in relation to cognitive functioning (including memory, concentration, learning ability and the like), and with Alzheimers and related illnesses being so debilitating it would definitely be worthwhile to investigate.
In the past there have been several animal studies that looked into the effects of green tea on cognition, with results seeming to indicate that green tea consumption can help to prevent the degenerative processes that lead to illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimers. However, there wasn’t a human study published on such effects until 2006, when Japanese researchers published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study took 1003 Japanese people aged 70 and above and looked into their green tea consumption as well as other factors such as their diet and lifestyle. They combined that with a short examination to test their cognitive functioning, known as the Mini Mental State Examination which measured memory, language and attention. The results seemed to indicate that drinking green tea was correlated with a lowered chance of cognitive impairment, with those who drank 1 cup per day having a 38% reduction in cognitive impairment and those who drank over 2 cups per day having a massive 54% reduction in mental decline.
This study gave us the first clear indication that green tea consumption really can help to maintain cognitive functioning and can subsequently prevent the onset of cognitive degeneration, suggesting that people who drink green tea are much more likely to keep their brain healthy for as long as possible.
But how can green tea have such an impact on the brain and cognitive functioning? Once again, it seems to come down to antioxidants. The antioxidants found in green tea, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), help to rid the body of free radicals by attacking them and stopping them from taking effect and damaging cells. In terms of helping cognition, when these antioxidants get into the brain’s blood stream they’re able to stop any free radicals that may be there from damaging the brain, thus helping to maintain a healthy brain and cognition.
So, green tea really can help with cognitive functioning. Both human and animal studies indicate that drinking green tea regularly can help to maintain cognitive functioning and can reduce the incidence of cognitive impairment, and thanks to animal studies we can also infer that it can help to prevent the onset of dementia and similar illnesses. Given that these illnesses are so hard to treat, any possible way that can prevent their onset would definitely be worth trying out, and because drinking green tea is such an easy thing to incorporate into your daily life it’s definitely worth considering. So, make sure to drink green tea as a way to improve cognitive functioning, as well as being a way to improve your health as a whole.
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“Republished with permission from EatGreenTea.com, the original edible green tea.”