A new study suggests that drinking green tea may help boost brain function and aid weight loss. The tea, though not as wildly popular in the US, is one of the most the most commonly consumed beverages on the globe.
Green tea has been linked to various health benefits including reduced cancer risk, cholesterol levels, as well as improved metabolism and immune system, among other benefits. The beverage has been used as medicine in some Asian cultures for centuries. The Chinese people use it as a treatment for headaches and depression.
While previously reports on benefits of green tea on brain function were mainly based anecdotal, they may now be strengthened by the new study.
The typical Western diet generally consists of meats, many of them processed, as well as refined sugars and carbohydrates. These have been linked to weight gain and obesity, as well as risk of cognitive impairment. Green tea may help protect against the harm brought on by the Western diet.
The benefits were linked to a compound known as Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in green tea.
During the study, 3-month old mice were randomly placed in three groups that were fed different diets for 16 weeks. These groups were standard diet, high fructose diet, and high fructose diet with two grams of EGCG.
At the end of the 16 weeks the mice were measured for body fat, as well as put through a water maze memory test, a classic test for cognitive and memory function in rodents.
Not surprisingly, the mice fed eating the high fructose turned out heavier than those fed a standard diet. These mice were also heavier than the mice fed high fructose diet plus EGCG, signifying that EGCG helped counter the effects of the bad diet.
The EGCG group also performed better in the water memory maze test.
In addition, the researchers found that EGCG group had improved insulin function in the central nervous system. The compound also showed neuroprotective effects on the brain, specifically protecting new neurons in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is linked to memory and learning.
Now, this does not mean that one can eat as much pizza as they want, wash it down with soda, and then drink green tea to hopefully negate the effects. The study was done on mice therefore it is not clear if the results will apply to humans.
It shouldn’t be surprising if green tea starts to be touted as some kind of elixir, especially for weight loss and brain function, as some people try to cash in on this study.
Green tea is made from tea leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation process as black tea. Several varieties of green tea exist, which differ substantially because of the variety of leaves used, as well as growing conditions, horticultural methods, processing, and time of harvest.
You can read a detailed report on this study on Forbes.