Cup of tea good for the brain

A cup of tea slows down cell degeneration and keeps the mind sharp into old age, a published report claimed.

A four-year study by scientists in Singapore adds to tea's long- touted virtues. Any type of tea will do, said Professor Ng Tze Pin from the National University of Singapore's psychological medicine department.

"Tea is cheap, non-toxic and widely consumed," Ng was quoted as saying. The university's scientists found that catechins, a natural compound in tea, protects brain cells from damaging protein build-up over the years, maintaining the brain's cognitive capability.

The caffeine in tea, unlike that in coffee, contains the natural protein theanine, which counters the normal side effects of caffeine such as raised blood pressure, headaches and tiredness, the scientists said.

How the study was done
Brain-cell degeneration, caused by a combination of loss of nerve cells, predisposed genes, small strokes and increased levels of harmful protein build-up, often leads to dementia, the report said.

The team of scientists studied the tea-drinking habits of 2 501 Chinese aged 55 and above from September 2003 to December 2005. Participants' health, attention span, language use and visual and spatial abilities were assessed and their tea consumption was monitored.

About 38 per cent did not drink tea. Twenty-nine per cent drank only one kind and the rest consumed a mix of teas. Two-thirds of the tea drinkers maintained their scores on the same memory tests two years later. Among the non-tea drinkers, 35 per cent saw a drop in their scores by an average of two points, signifying cognitive decline.

Tea was the distinguishing factor keeping brain cell energised. The drink alone cannot do the job. "It still means a lifetime of good habits and a balanced diet," Ng said. – (Sapa)

April 2008

Read more:
Tea is good for hips
Milk blunts tea's benefits

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 618 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7412 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 921 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.62
+1.2%
Rand - Pound
20.19
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.60
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.45
+1.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.8%
Gold
1,725.24
+1.5%
Silver
21.06
+1.7%
Palladium
2,323.00
+4.4%
Platinum
934.00
+3.3%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,840
+3.3%
All Share
66,313
+3.2%
Resource 10
64,568
+4.5%
Industrial 25
80,073
+3.2%
Financial 15
14,053
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE