Drinking Tea Could Improve Brain Connectivity, Says Study

Specifically, consuming green tea, black tea, or oolong tea.
Fabienne Lang

You'll thank yourself when you're older if you start drinking green tea, black tea, or oolong tea now. A study, led by researchers at the National University of Singapore, Wuyi University in China, the University of Essex, and the University of Cambridge, says so. 

By drinking these teas, your brain better organizes its different regions and, thus, improves its connectivity. 

This may offer a protective effect on the aging of your brain, as per the study, which was published in the journal Aging.


Better organized brain regions

"Our study offers the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests a protective effect on age-related decline in brain organisation," said the study's researchers.

The team made this discovery by comparing a group of tea drinkers with non-tea drinkers. They observed 36 adults, aged over 60 years old, and by gathering neuro-imaging data.

What the team found was that those who drank green tea, black tea, or oolong tea, at least four times a week, and over 25 years, had more efficiently interconnected regions than those who didn't. If you have a strongly interconnected brain, you also have healthy cognitive function. 

Leader of the study, Assistant Professor Feng Lei, explained it as follows, "Take the analogy of road traffic as an example - consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads."

Feng continued, "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."

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Limitations to the study

Even though this research brings good news, it has its limitations. The findings are based on a small group.

The researchers had difficulty finding appropriate volunteers for their study, given there are very specific requirements: regular tea drinking, rarely ever any tea drinking, or no tea drinking at all. 

Furthermore, the volunteers had to be tea drinkers or non-tea drinkers, over 25 years. 

Drinking Tea Could Improve Brain Connectivity, Says Study
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Cognitive performance and brain organization are closely related, and the team says that further research into the subject is required.

By observing these connections more closely, the team could find a way to better preserve cognition and brain function during the aging process. 

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