Drinking tea could help stave off cognitive decline

Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 17:52:22-04

A research team in China followed tea drinking habits of 957 adults who were age 55 or older. 

The participants who had one or more cups of tea a day had a 50% reduced risk for cognitive decline when compared with those who rarely drank tea.

The gene that’s associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease is called APOE e4.

This study showed adults who had this gene and drank tea regularly had an 86 percent lower risk of cognitive decline.  Why tea may provide these potential brain benefits is not clear yet. 

It could be because tea has beneficial compounds like theaflavins, catechins, thearubigins, and L-theanine.  These are known to lower inflammation and could help protect your brain from neurodegeneration and vascular damage.

The type of tea you chose doesn’t matter as long as its brewed from tea leaves. Know that ready-to-drink teas are made from powder and contain only a tiny amount of flavonoids.

Good tea choices are green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. Researchers did not find reduced cognitive risks for fruit or herbal teas.

You can choose either loose tea or tea bags. If you sweetened it, be careful of adding too many extra calories with sugar and cream.

If you don’t drink tea and want to start, have one cup in the morning or early afternoon. Don’t drink tea too late in the day as it may keep you from falling asleep.

A cup of tea can range anywhere between 14 and 70mg per cup.  You shouldn’t get more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.  Keep an eye on your total caffeine intake as sodas, coffee and chocolate can add up quickly.  If you start to feel jittery, have migraines, insomnia, stomach upset or a fast heartbeat, you may be overdoing the caffeine.