Having a cuppa could help you solve the crossword faster, according to the latest study.
Natural ingredients found in a cup of tea can improve brain power and increase alertness, it is claimed.
Researchers looked at the effect of key chemicals found in tea on the mental performance of 44 young volunteers.
The effects of these ingredients, an amino acid called L-theanine – which is also found in green tea – and caffeine at levels typically found in a cup of tea, were compared with a dummy treatment.
The active ingredients significantly improved accuracy across a number of switching tasks for those who drank the tea after 20 and 70 minutes, compared with the placebo.
The tea drinkers’ alertness was also heightened, the study found.
Tea was also found to reduced tiredness among the volunteers, who were aged under 40, according to the Dutch researchers reporting on their findings in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
‘The results suggest the combination helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task,’ they said. Previous trials have shown that adding milk to a cup of tea does not affect the drinker’s absorption of flavonoids – or antioxidants – or disrupt the health benefits from these.
Tea drinking has already been linked with lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s. Other research shows drinking tea on a regular basis for ten or more years may help improve bone density.
Dr Tim Bond, of the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel, said the latest findings backed a previous study which showed drinking two cups of black tea ‘improves the ability to react to stimuli and to focus attention on the task in hand’.
‘Taken together, these two studies provide evidence that consumption of black tea improves cognitive function, in particular helping to focus attention during the challenge of a demanding mental task,’ he said.
‘As a result, all this new data adds to the growing science that drinking tea, preferably four cups of tea a day, is good for our health and well being.’