A new study suggests that drinking green tea can help fight memory loss and improve learning.
Green tea has long been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine, treating ailments from headaches. The drink is high in B vitamins, antioxidants, caffeine and magnesium and has been linked to benefits for weight loss, cancer risk and cardiovascular disease.
However, despite the multitude of positive effects caused by consumption of the popular drink, there has been little research on its impact on cognitive decline.
Researcher Dr Xuebo Liu at the College of Food Science and Engineering, Northwest A&F University, in Yangling, China said: “Obesity, which is caused by an energy imbalance between calorie intake and consumption, has become a major international health burden.
“Obesity increases the risk of insulin resistance and age-related cognitive decline, accompanied by peripheral inflammation.
“Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol in green tea, possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective activities.
“However, few reports have focused on its potential effect on cognitive disorders.”
Researchers studied the impact of controlled diets on mice, with one group given a high fat and sugar diet and the other eating the same diet but consuming two grams of EFCG per litre of water.
The mice were monitored over a period of 16 weeks before their memory was tested using a Morris water maze test. The researchers discovered that those who had consumed EGCG throughout the study were quicker to find the platform than their counterparts, and were better at finding food.
Dr Liu added: “To our knowledge, this study is the first to provide compelling evidence that the nutritional compound EGCG has the potential to ameliorate high-fat and high-fructose diet-triggered learning and memory loss.
“Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries
“The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combating obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”
The study was published in The FASEB Journal.