In a recent study, it is found that habitual drinking of tea improves brain health as it significantly contributes to better brain structure. Additionally, it provides a protective effect on cognitive decline caused by aging in older adults.Li, J., Romero-Garcia, R., Suckling, J., & Feng, L. (2019). Habitual tea drinking modulates brain efficiency: evidence from brain connectivity evaluation. Aging, 11(11), 3876–3890. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.102023
The participants of the study are healthy older adults who were then grouped depending on their history of tea-drinking frequency. The researchers examined how drinking tea can affect both the functional and structural networks of the brain.
As observed in the results, drinking tea helped suppress hemispheric asymmetry in the structural connectivity network of the brain. On the other hand, they did not see any effects on the functional connectivity network of the brain.
In addition, the tea-drinking group was seen to have greater functional connectivity strength within their brain.
A Popular Beverage From The Past
Dr. Junhua Li and Dr. Lei Feng, co-authors of the study, mentioned that tea has been a popular beverage since ancient times. There were records of prevalent tea consumption dating back to 2700 BC, during the dynasty of Shen Nong in China.
From the past until now, tea is consumed in different ways. There are brewed tea and some products with tea ingredients in them. This has been common in Asia, especially in China and Japan.
Previous studies have seen the correlation between individual tea ingredients and their significant contribution to maintaining cognitive abilities and preventing cognitive decline. However, an ingredient alone was seen to have a degraded effect or no effect at all as observed in a study with behavioral and neurophysiological measures. Hence, the beneficial effect of tea can only be observed when ingredients are combined, instead of being administered individually.
Noted Effects Of Tea From Other Studies
In another comparative experiment, it was demonstrated that combinations of tea ingredients have superior effects, thus, it suggested that people should take tea as it is instead of consuming tea extracts as alternatives.
In the majority of the studies, the evaluated effects of tea have been observed from the perspective of neurocognitive and neurophysiological measures, with only a few on neuroimaging processes. The findings of this study were focused on the direct measurement of brain structure as well as its function.
It is also noted that while the effects of drinking tea altered brain regions in a structural way, there are no observed changes in overall interregional interactions of the brain.
The researchers summarized that the study comprehensively investigated the effects of drinking tea on brain connectivity. The results were demonstrated using multi-modal imaging data which provided solid evidence of how drinking tea positively contributes to brain structure. As a result, network organization in the brain becomes more efficient and provides a protective effect on the cognitive decline of older adults.
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