While the results of several studies have suggested a link between regular caffeine consumption and a reduced risk of cognitive decline, few have been able to quantify the beneficial effects that the compound has on brain function.
However, recent findings presented at last weekend’s International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease imply that individuals can significantly slow the development of cognitive decline by routinely consuming tea.
For the study, lead author Lenore Arab and her colleagues from the University of California Los Angeles recruited more than 4,800 men and women over the age of 65 and had them complete dietary questionnaires.
The participants were then followed for as many as 14 years, and were asked to routinely complete a Mini-Mental State Examination to measure their naturally-occurring levels of cognitive decline. On average, people scored 1.7 points lower on the exam each year.
However, after analyzing the dietary questions, and taking into account various risk factors, the researchers found that tea drinkers experienced 17 to 37 percent less cognitive decline over the course of the study, compared to non-tea drinkers. The more tea a person drank, the more stable their brain function remained.