New research has found that long-term tea drinkers can get cognitive benefits from enjoying black tea, oolong tea or green tea. The study published in the journal Aging shows that regular tea drinkers have more “efficiency” within the brain. Efficiency referring to faster communication between the different areas of the brain.
“Our study offers the first evidence of the positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure,” said the team made up of researchers from China, Singapore and the UK.
In the study the tea-drinking group showed more symmetry in their brain connections than the non tea-drinkers.
The tea drinkers brains more closely resembled the connectivity of a middle-aged brain (participants were in their early 70s).
The authors write that this symmetry “suggests that tea in-take could slow age-related alterations.”
Black tea specifically is also considered to improve people’s attention span after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) endorsed research into the drink and its affects.
Unilever conducted three human intervention studies. Participants drank two to three servings of either black tea or tea-flavoured coloured water on separate occasions.
Test subjects then undertook a series of tasks to measure their attention span both before and after each serving. Those drinking tea consistently showed higher attention scores which are based on accuracy and the speed of their responses. One study demonstrated that the stronger the tea, the higher the scores.
According to EFSA “the claimed effect depends on the concerted action of two substances, caffeine and l‐theanine. Both of which are present in black tea. In order to obtain the claimed effect, 2–3 servings of black tea providing at least 75 mg of caffeine in total should be consumed within 90 minutes.”
Those drinking tea consistently showed higher attention scores
In a press release, Clive Gristwood, executive vice president of R&D Foods & Refreshment at Unilever, said the company is pleased to be one of the few companies to achieve EFSA’s official positive scientific opinion.
“We consider it a reward for our long years of extensive research in the benefits associated with drinking tea.”
The European Commission will now review the opinion. Unilever will have exclusivity to use this claim for five years, if the application is granted.
The EFSA endorsement is a first involving tea.