Many of us know that green tea has many amazing, scientifically backed health benefits (especially in regard to cancer prevention). Add another benefit to the list! A new study out of the University of Basel which was published in the journal Psychopharmacology demonstrated the first known example of how green tea extract can affect cognitive functions such as the working memory! These are exciting and promising results, because they could have implications regarding the treatment of dementia and other neuropsychiatric disorders!
What makes the study special is that it is the first to help explain the cognitive-enhancing effects of green tea by determining the underlying neural mechanisms. The study was conducted by having male participants consume a soft drink that contained green tea extract before solving memory tasks. The researchers were then able to analyze how this affected brain activity via MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and found that the neural connections between the parietal and frontal cortex of the brain had increased connectivity!
This led to improved performance on the exercises; the male subjects that drank green tea performed better on the memory tasks. “Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,” said Professor Stefan Borgwardt, a member of the research team. This could lead to green tea extract being a natural treatment for cognitive disorders such as dementia!
Other Great Health Benefits of Green Tea
Previous research on green tea published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry demonstrated that the catechins (antioxidant) within green tea can help prevent eye disease by actually being able to penetrate the eye tissue and offering their substantial benefits. It was previously unknown whether or not these substances could actually penetrate the eye tissue and help protect against eye disease!
Another great benefit of green tea is cancer prevention. A 2010 study conducted by the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan demonstrated that, among non-smokers, people who drank at least one cup of green tea per day were five times less likely to develop lung cancer. This was hypothesized to be due to the protective powers of polyphenols within the green tea!
Green tea truly is amazing. From helping prevent cancer to improving working memory, we can all benefit from drinking more of this wonderful drink! The newest research out of the University of Basal is promising for future research because it opens the possibilities that the increased connectivity between the frontal and parietal brain regions cause by green tea extract could lead to better natural treatments for dementia and other cognitive impairments!