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Drinking a cup of tea daily can cut your risk of dementia by 50 percent and reduce cognitive deterioration by as much as 86 percent was established in a recent study by the Department of Psychological Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging. For the investigation, researchers tested 957 Chinese senior citizens aged 55 years or older and discovered that certain compounds found in tea can protect against neurological disorders. In addition, those people who have the APOE-e4 gene, a biological marker that induces a person to develop Alzheimer’s disease at a later age, were less likely to display the condition.

Assistant Professor Feng Lei who led the study says that “despite high quality drug trials, effective pharmacological therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as dementia remains elusive and current prevention strategies are far from satisfactory. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in real life.”

The longstanding study compiled data from 2003 to 2005 as a baseline and contrasted this with the number of occurring cases of neurocognitive disorders from 2006 to 2010. All the seniors were cognitively undamaged at baseline. Members of the study who regularly drank tea showed half the lowered risk of developing dementia, while APOE-e4 carriers had a 86 percent reduced risk of cognitive deterioration.

This was the case despite the variety of tea that was consumed, whether green, black, or oolong. The neuro-insulating quality of the tea is found in the leaves which have “bioactive compounds such as catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins and L-theanine,” says Dr. Feng. “These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.”

Scientists involved in the study advise that more research is needed, principally on a global scope. Nevertheless, they contend that “while the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well. Our findings have important implications for dementia prevention.”