Scientists have published the first physical evidence of how green tea improves memory, paving the way for its therapeutic use among people with memory problems like dementia. In addition to its well-documented benefits for the body, like cancer protection, heart health and weight loss, a number of studies have shown that green tea can boost cognitive performance and that regular drinkers of green tea are less likely to develop brain degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as they age.
Now researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have used brain MRI to uncover how it exerts this remarkable effect on our brains. They gave healthy volunteers a drink containing green tea extract or a placebo, and then asked them to complete a task that tested their working memory while their the changes in blood flow to their brains was being measured by the MRI. People who drank green tea extract had greater levels of connectivity between the parietal and frontal cortex—brain areas known for higher-level decision-making and learning—and performed better on the memory test. The scientists hope that the analysis methods they’ve developed can now be adapted to test the effects of green tea on people with dementia and other disorders.
(Source: Psychopharmacology, 2014; doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3526-1.)