Green tea study shows benefits to brain

The health benefits of green tea have been recognised for several centuries but now a team of scientists at Newcastle University claim that drinking the tea could help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

Their research has shown that a component called CAGTE is released when the tea is digested, and this chemical helps prevent the degeneration of brain cells. The study is published in the academic journal Phytomedicine.

Project leader Dr Ed Okello, from the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said:  “We found when green tea is digested, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer’s development than the undigested form of the tea.

“In addition, we found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of tumour cells we were using in our experiments.”

However Dr Okello stressed that although drinking a cup of green tea a day could prove beneficial, other factors play a part in minimising the risk of developing cancer or dementia, such as a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Dr Anne Corbett of the Alzheimer’s Society welcomed the research findings but stressed that the researchers used a far higher dose of the active green tea chemical than would ever be found in the human body.  Dr Corbett added that, “More research is needed to see whether green tea is protective at a much lower dose, and to understand the mechanism involved.”

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