Green tea has become a staple in many people’s kitchens these days. Steeped in history, it has roots in traditional Chinese medicine where it was used for centuries as a treatment for everything from migraines to weight gain - but as well as the body, it does the brain good too, with new research showing that it can help reduce lifestyle-related memory loss brought on by high fat and high sugar diets .
This science behind this particular cognitive benefit stems from one of the main polyphenols found in green tea, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been found to provide protection against the nerve cell damage that can be caused by these types of diets.
The study , which reviewed ECGC’s effect on mice who consumed high fat and high fructose diets, revealed that those who consumed EGCG suffered from less memory loss than those who didn’t. “Of note, EGCG significantly ameliorated insulin resistance, which is associated with cognitive decline in older people, by increasing the activity of the insulin receptor and its associated biochemical pathways,” comments Dr Tim Bond, a tea scientist from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP).
The data helps support previous studies which have shown that green tea consumption can improve cognitive function, especially in old age. “A clinical study in elderly nursing home residents with cognitive dysfunction found that green tea powder, 2g daily for three months, improved cognitive scores on an established rating scale,” notes Dr Bond. “This latest study points to the potential for tea to reduce cognitive decline and that EGCG may provide protection through reducing inflammation in brain nerve cells."
There’s never been a better reason to pop the kettle on. Looking for some tea-spiration? Check out our top 10 herbal teas with health benefits here .