In a breakthrough study, scientists found evidence that using tea for Alzheimer’s could drastically lower your risk of developing the condition. It’s true, sipping tea could help ward off Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2017 study out of the National University of Singapore says. (1)
Most of us don’t give a second thought to brewing a morning matcha green tea or tapping into chamomile benefits to wind down at night. But according to researchers, the beverage doesn’t just taste good, it’s good for your brain. More specifically, tea for Alzheimer’s prevention could be an inexpensive, drug-free way to lower your Alzheimer’s risk.
Tea for Alzheimer’s Prevention Looks Promising
The tea for Alzheimer’s study followed more than 950 adults aged 55 years or older and studied their tea drinking habits from 2003 to 2005. Then, from 2006 to 2010, researchers followed up with the men and women and assessed their cognitive function, using the same standards each time.
The results? Those people who regularly drank tea reduced their risk of neurocognitive disorders by 50 percent. And, even more impressively, tea’s protective benefits were particularly effective for people genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s — this group reduced their risk of cognitive impairment by as much as 86 percent. Turns out, tea could be a viable Alzheimer’s natural treatment.
According to the researchers, the type of tea for Alzheimer’s risk reduction doesn’t matter either, as long as it’s brewed from tea leaves and drank consistently.
How Tea Impacts the Brain
While tea for Alzheimer’s is exciting news, it’s just the latest proof that tea actually works to protect your brain. What makes tea so special is some of the compounds found in it, like catechins and theaflavins. These ingredients are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that might protect the brain from aging.
A 2013 study found that the theanine and caffeine in tea helped drinkers perform better at work. It also increased creativity and alertness. (2) Caffeine pairs up well with L-theanine, too, a relaxation-promoting amino acid. In fact, the combo works in tea to reduce mental fatigue while increasing alertness and memory. (3)
And in 2012, researchers discovered that EGCG, a chemical found in green tea, actually improves memory. EGCG actually boosts production of neural progenitor cells, which the brain can then adapt to its own needs. When scientists tested the theory on lab mice, they found EGCG helped the rodents recognize objects while improving spatial memory. (4) Amazing side note? Thanks to EGCG, green tea makes the cancer-fighting foods list, too.
Better memory, increased alertness, reduced mental fatigue and it’s all-natural? Are you ready to become a tea drinker yet?
Best Ways to Enjoy Tea
If you’re ready to add more tea into your life, here’s how to do it right.
Use real tea leaves. While tea bags are super convenient, the tea for Alzheimer’s study specified that it’s the tea leaves that have all the healing benefits. While tea bags aren’t bad for your health, you will be missing out on all of the leafy goodness tea has to offer. Luckily, these days you can buy convenient tea pots that trap the leaves, making brewing tea as simple as instant coffee. Whether you’re looking for black tea benefits or prefer green tea or another type, it’s easier than ever to find loose leaf, organic teas.
Don’t brew too long. Keep your eye on the clock when making tea. Green tea doesn’t need to steep very long, just 2 to 3 minutes. Any longer and the tea will release tannins, leaving a bitter taste in your drink. For other types of tea, 3 to 5 minutes is ideal.
Beware of what you’re adding. Like most foods and drinks, tea starts off healthy but, depending on what you add to it, can become an unhealthy beverage pretty quickly. People often sweeten up their tea with a few teaspoons of table sugar. Not only are these empty calories, but sugar will send you on a high — and then a crash. Why ruin your drink with that?
Instead, opt for small amounts of local, raw honey or Manuka honey, both of which are loaded with healing benefits. However, steer clear of normal supermarket honey, which is actually often fake honey! Companies filter the pollen out of the honey, making it honey no more. And you can forget those little individual packets you get at most restaurants, which are often just “honey-flavored” corn syrup; read the ingredients.
If you like your tea for Alzheimer’s a little bit creamy, add organic, full-fat milk or coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative. But make sure you skip the non-dairy creamers some add to tea. They’re usually frankenfoods loaded with partially hydrogenated soybean oil (hello, GMOs), artificial colors, corn syrup, carrageenan and a whole host of ingredients your body neither wants or needs.
This coconut milk coffee creamer makes a nice addition to your favorite tea. Perk: it’s dairy-free.
Final Thoughts on Tea for Alzheimer’s
- Tea brewed from leaves can protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s in regular drinkers
- Tea’s unique ingredients help keep the brain from aging, while also boosting memory and alertness.
- To reap tea’s best benefits, skip the teabags and use leaves.
- Keep your tea fixings simple to ensure it remains a healthy drink.
- Bottoms up!
Read Next: 7 Surprising Ways to Lower Your Dementia Risk