If you haven’t taken up a tea habit yet, you might be headed to the kitchen for a cuppa before you finish reading this. Because researchers say a regular tea habit could cut your risk for cognitive decline in half.
And if you’re genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease the benefits of drinking antioxidant-rich tea are even more incredible. Because according to the recent research, tea could slash your risk of dementia up to an astounding 86 percent.
I’ll have more details on this breakthrough study in a moment, but first let’s take a quick look at how antioxidants help keep us healthy.
Fight chronic disease with antioxidants
Your body naturally produces free radicals, unbalanced molecules that are missing an electron. Since molecules naturally seek balance those free radicals are highly reactive, bouncing around your body in a desperate search to find an electron and become stable.
Free radicals usually resort to stealing an electron from a nearby molecule turning that victim into a free radical setting off a chain reaction, which in the end can leave a living cell damaged. Unchecked free radicals can lead to illness and chronic disease increasing your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.
Antioxidants fight this damage by donating one of their own electrons. And since antioxidants are stable in either form the donated electrons help put the brakes on the chain reactions that cause aging, illness and disease.
While our bodies do make some antioxidants on their own the number of free radicals typically far outnumber the antioxidants. But lucky for us we can boost our supply of antioxidants through our diet by eating more antioxidant rich foods such as tea.
Which brings up back to that exciting research which was published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.1
Boost brain function and ward off dementia risk
Researchers from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in Singapore followed a group of 957 seniors (55+) for seven years. For two years the amount of tea volunteers drank was recorded daily. They were then monitored for cognitive decline for five years after that.
The scientists found that the regular tea drinkers—folks who downed at least a cup a day—had a significantly lower risk of developing cognitive decline. Tea drinkers had higher cognitive scores, and a lower risk of developing any kind of neurocognitive disease.
And the more tea the volunteer’s drank the higher the protection appeared to be. Overall the tea fans had 50 percent less chance of cognitive decline. And those with the APOE e4 gene, which makes them genetically at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, had their risk plummet by as much as 86 percent.
To stay sharp as a tack turn to tea
Tea is rich in a number of disease fighting antioxidants including:
But experts say these powerful substances do more than just offer antioxidant protection. The bioactive compounds also fight vascular inflammation and boost cognitive function.
Putting these findings to work for you couldn’t be an easier. Simply take up tea drinking. And the good news is the type of tea you choose doesn’t appear to matter much. The volunteer’s drank a variety of black, green and oolong teas, and no matter the type they all offered essentially the same protection, with oolong and black teas edging out green by just a bit.
So go ahead and have a cuppa to stay shark as a tack for many years to come.
1. “Tea consumption reduces the incidence of neurocognitive disorders: Findings from the Singapore longitudinal aging study,” The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, December 2016, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 1002–1009