Perhaps the Queen of England’s afternoon tea break has helped to keep her mind sharp as she aged, That’s because tea contains natural compounds that are increasingly linked to a healthy brain. Tea-totallers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this good news. More and more research shows that drinking tea can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other brain diseases.
New research published in The American Journal of Public Health found that tea-totalling can reduce the risk of dementia by more than 50 percent. Black, green and white tea all have significant amounts of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds called catechins, which makes them a great choice for a healthy brain. These natural phytochemicals have shown great promise as brain protectors.
In other research published in the medical journal Psychopharmacology, scientists found that people who drank green tea each day experienced improved cognition and memory. The scientists believe that this research holds promise for healthy individuals, as well as the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders like dementia.
Still further research found that green tea contains potent antioxidants that fight free radicals with 20 times the power of vitamin E. Free radicals react with healthy cells in the brain, causing damage, so lessening their numbers helps reduce damage to brain cells. Green tea also lowers the risk of blood clots and clumping linked to stroke.
But it’s not just its antioxidant effects that help reduce your risk of stroke. Green tea also prevents cholesterol buildup in arteries and helps prevent cardiovascular disease. According to research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a special type of plant nutrient found in black, green and white tea, helps prevent fat buildup in arteries, which is important for both a healthy heart and brain. White and black tea also contain the substance; however, black tea typically contains less EGCG than white or green tea.
Few people would consider that they can drink their way to dementia-prevention. Yet, according to a growing body of research, it is possible to tea-total your way to a healthy brain. But, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to maximize the brain benefits of tea drinking:
1. Green and white tea have the highest amounts of EGCG, making them both excellent choices, but don’t rule out black tea, which still contains EGCG and has high amounts of antioxidants like the former 2 tea types.
2. Let your tea steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking to maximize the amount of natural phytochemicals that steep into the beverage.
3. Avoid loading up your tea with sugar and milk, since both of these substances have been linked with inflammation which could counter the benefits of tea drinking. Choose almond or rice milk and the natural herbal sweetener, stevia, if you prefer a sweeter tea.
4. Even if you can’t stand green tea, you may enjoy it brewed, iced, sweetened with a little stevia, and add a splash of fresh lemon juice for an amazing green tea lemonade that even green tea haters love.