Tea and your brain

“Ah go on, have a cup of tea!” is something you’re probably hearing a lot of catching up with everyone. Besides that little caffeine boost, tea can actually help your brain in ways you probably didn’t know.

Green Tea Reduces Cognitive impairment

Trying to be a bit healthier and drinking green tea? Did you know that there is actually an element of green tea that stops plaque buildup that leads to Alzheimer’s? As you get older, drinking green tea can also improve your performance on cognitive tests. So good news, granny’s brain will probably be working a few years longer than her counterpart who doesn’t drink tea! But how much does it take? According a study by Kuriyama in Japan, drinking at least 2 cups of green tea was tied to the lowest risk of cognitive impairment as you get older. In fact, of the people in their study who drank at least 2 cups of green tea a day, they were 54% less likely to show cognitive impairments than others their same age.

Tea is more antioxidant

Tea contains chemicals called polyphenols. According to studies, these substances are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant; which may explain why green tea reduce cognitive impairment. While coffee also contains polyphenols, they are not at the same levels as you find in tea.

Improves Creativity

Drinking tea can help you get through that mental roadblock and help you to be more creative. Researchers say that there is an amino-acid in tea called theanine, which can aid in creative problem solving.

Boosts energy

Remember that amino-acid theanine? Well researchers have also found that this chemical stimulates waves in your brain called alpha waves. These are associated with relaxation. Combine that with the caffeine of black tea, and now you can have that energy boost, but while also feeling more calm. This is one of the reasons that people have started adding it to coffee when making “bulletproof coffee.”

Types of tea and how they can help…

Some studies have shown that different teas can help us in different ways.

Green Tea: Studies have shown that it may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. It prevents clogging of the arteries, helps burn fat, and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It can also reduce your risk of stroke and improve your cholesterol levels.

Black Tea: Black tea has the highest caffeine content of all other teas. Black tea may help protect our lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke and reduce the risk of stroke.

White Tea:  A recent study has shown that white tea has the most potent anti-cancer properties

Watch the sugar

While these teas can help our health in certain ways, remember that consuming high amounts of sugar in your tea can be unhealthy. So be sure you’re watching how much you’re putting in.

So go on, and have another cuppa. It may be just the “pick me up” you need!

Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.

Your Daily Cuppa: How tea affects your brain

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