Tea drinking can lower the risk of cognitive impairment in older persons by half, and genetic risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 86 percent, according to a study by National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
The longitudinal study was conducted over 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older, NUS said in a press statement on 16 March.
The neuroprotective role of tea consumption on cognitive function was not limited to a particular type of tea. Therefore, “while the study was conducted on Chinese elderly, the results could apply to other races as well,” explained Assistant Professor Feng Lei, who led the study.
“Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The data from our study suggests that a simple and inexpensive lifestyle measure such as daily tea drinking can reduce a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in late life,” he added.
For this study, tea consumption information were collected from the participants, who are community-living elderly, from 2003 to 2005. Regularly, over a period of two years, these seniors were assessed on their cognitive function using standardised tools until 2010. Information on lifestyles, medical conditions, physical and social activities were also collected.
Those potential confounding factors were carefully controlled in statistical models to ensure the robustness of the findings. The findings of this research were also published in scientific journal ‘The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging’ in December 2016.
Moving ahead, Assistant Professor Feng and his team will embark on further studies to better understand the impact of Asian diet on cognitive health in ageing.