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Daily Cup Of Tea Protects Elderly Against Cognitive Decline

21 March 2017, 12:59 am EDT By Livia Rusu Tech Times
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Researchers have found that drinking one cup of tea can help the elderly in preventing cognitive decline. The study was carried out on Chinese people but it could be applied to all races.  ( Christopher Furlong | Getty Images )

Drinking tea reduces the risk of cognitive decline in elder people by 50 percent. Additionally, people who have genetic predispositions to develop Alzheimer's disease have an 86 percent lower risk of developing the disease, should they consume tea on a daily basis.

The study responsible for this statement was carried out by specialists at the Department of Psychological Medicine at the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

Tea, Helpful Against Dementia Among The Elderly

The longitudinal study involved 957 Chinese people over the age of 55, suggesting that regular tea consumption is associated with a much lower risk of cognitive decline. APOE e-4 gene carriers, who are people prone to developing Alzheimer's disease, are also very advantaged by this habit.

The researchers who conducted the study also noticed that the neuroprotective role of tea consumption when it comes to cognitive function is not associated with a specific type of tea, as any kind of tea leave, from green tea to oolong tea or black tea, has the same protective role.

A limitation of the research is that it was conducted only on Chinese elderly. However, researchers have reasons to be optimistic that these findings can easily apply to any other race when it comes to dementia prevention.

The scientific attention has been focused on developing different drug trials that can prevent cognitive decline or constitute an efficient therapy for dementia. However, the current means of treating neurocognitive disorders are far from satisfactory.

Since tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, embracing the habit of drinking tea could benefit people worldwide. Tea is also a low-cost beverage, which means that many categories of people, including the ones in poorer countries or individuals from low-income families could easily include tea in their daily routines.

"The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person's risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life," noted assistant professor Feng Lei, lead author of the research.

According to one of the researchers who carried out this study, tea leaves are so beneficial due to a series of compounds, among which theaflavins, catechins, L-theanine and thearubigins. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, which can be effective against neural degradation, preventing brain damage.

More research will have to be carried out in order for scientists to better understand the biological mechanisms that are activated when people consume tea, which could help developing new and more effective strategies to combat and treat brain damage and cognitive decline.

"Regular tea consumption was associated with lower risk of neurocognitive disorders among Chinese elderly. Gender and genetic factors could possibly modulate this association," concluded the study.

Preventing Dementia And Cognitive Decline

Another study, published The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, in October 2016, showed that consuming more than 261 mg of caffeine can prevent dementia as well. Women who consumed this amount of caffeine on a daily basis had a significant, 36 percent drop in the overall risks of suffering from dementia in the following 10 years.

This amount of caffeine can be translated into up to six 8-ounce cups of black tea, three 8-ounce cups of coffee or eight 12-ounce cans of cola.

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