The health benefits of green tea are undeniable. It’s abundant in nutrients that improve both your physical and mental health. For one thing, it protects against cancer, regulates blood pressure, and even reduces blood cholesterol levels.
One of the most powerful nutrients of green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – a substance that is extremely beneficial for brain function. According to scientists, this substance can significantly improve your memory.
Green Tea Boosts Memory
A 2014 study conducted by Stefan Borgwadt, Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Basel, and his team observed the effects of 1-2 cups of green tea on 12 healthy volunteers for a month. The researchers found that the tea increased nerve connectivity in regions of the brain linked to working memory.
According to Dr. Stefan Borgwadt, “Many people consume green tea extracts in some form, so we were interested in the effects [on the brain].”
“Our findings provide [the] first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections.”
The subjects of the study did considerably better in memory-testing activities after the trial period than before.
However, the study is incomprehensive and the scientists point out that further research is needed.
A different study found that green tea extract containing EGCG reduces inflammation in the brain and improves some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease when combined with regular exercise.
In other words, consumption of green on a regular daily basis possibly prevents cognitive decline in senior adults.
EGCG And Down Syndrome
Another important health benefit of green tea has been confirmed by researchers. Namely, it has been found that green tea can improve the symptoms of Down’s syndrome in the short term.
The study was conducted on a group of 87 people, ages 16 to 34, suffering from the condition, all of whom were given cognitive training during the trial period. 50% of the subjects also received green tea extract on a daily basis whereas the other half received a placebo over a period of one year.
At the end of the study it was found that the over-expressed genes causing the neurological symptoms of Down’s syndrome were somewhat moderated by the tea.
The researchers found that the patients receiving the extract “[performed better] in tests for visual memory, the ability to control responses and the ability to plan or make calculations. Brain scans revealed improvements in connectivity between nerve cells and improvements were also seen in areas of the brain relating to language”.
These effects lasted up to 6 months after the end of the study in some patients.
According to Dr. de la Torre, a co-researcher in the study, “It was surprising to see how the changes are not just cognitive – in the reasoning, learning, memory and attention capacities – but suggest that the functional connectivity of the neurons in the brain was also modified.”
“Our results have been already marginally positive in the adult population, in which cerebral plasticity is limited because the brain is already completely developed. We believe that if the treatment is applied to children, the results might be even better.”