Green tea boosts the brain

Looking for a quick brain pick me up before work? Forget coffee – it seems green tea has the key.

A new study has found that the tea – already credited with providing a host of health benefits – can help improve memory and cognition in men.

Researchers recruited 12 healthy men and divided them into two groups.

One group was given a drink containing a green tea extract, while a second group was given a placebo drink without the extract.

Then, using an MRI machine, scientists studied the effects of the two drinks on the men’s brains while they performed a memory test.

Compared to the placebo group, the green tea drinkers experienced an increase in the activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory, which you need for problem solving and focus.

Green tea

The results of the new study are reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Green tea is full of polyphenols, which widen blood vessels, speeding the supply of blood to the brain, like EGCG, a strong anti-cancer chemical.

Researchers have found these health giving chemicals might be behind green tea’s benefits.

Study co-author Stefan Borgwardt, of the University Hospital Basel, in Switzerland, said: ‘Green tea may help prevent neurotransmitters involved in brain functioning, like dopamine and epinephrine, from degrading.

‘It may also inhibit senile plaques from depositing in the brain, which impairs cognition.’