We’ve always been told that doing activities like Sudoku, or word games, while we’re on our commute can help us improve our brain health. But what if there was something we could do that didn’t get in the way of our latest podcast obsession?
Well, according to a new study by the National University of Singapore (NUS), regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions compared to non-tea drinkers.
Better organised brain regions are associated with healthy cognitive function, which protects against age-related decline.
To study the benefits of drinking tea, NUS researchers, in collaboration with the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, analysed neuroimaging data of 36 older adults aged 60 or above.
In addition to tea consumption, researchers also analysed factors such as health, lifestyle and psychological well-being.
The findings, published in the scientific journal Aging, found that participants who consumed either green, oolong or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had brain regions that were “interconnected in a more efficient way” than those who did not drink tea.
‘Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure, and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organisation’ said Feng Lei, team leader and assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
If you’re still wondering what brain organisation really means, then Dr Feng has explained it using a road traffic analogy:
Take the analogy of road traffic as an example. Consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads. When a road system is better organised, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses less resources.
In the future, the team of researchers plans to examine the effects that tea, and bioactive compounds found in tea, have on cognitive decline.
Plus, if this wasn’t already enough of a case to pop the kettle on, drinking tea, especially green tea, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, according to Harvard Medical School.