Although previous studies have shown that green tea consumption aids in weight loss, can lower cholesterol levels and is full of anti-oxidants, a new report published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research reveals that it may also benefit memory and spacial awareness as well.

Yun Bai, from the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing China commented:

“Green tea is a popular beverage across the world. There has been plenty of scientific attention on its use in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases, but now there is emerging evidence that its chemical properties may impact cellular mechanisms in the brain.”

During their study, the experts concentrated on EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate), an organic chemical and main ingredient in green tea. Although EGCG is an anti-oxidant, the researchers say that it may also protect against degenerative diseases which come with age

Bai continued: “We proposed that EGCG can improve cognitive function by impacting the generation of neuron cells, a process known as neurogenesis. We focused our research on the hippocampus, the part of the brain which processes information from short-term to long-term memory.”

The researchers discovered that ECGC helps to promote the making of neural progenitor cells, which are similar to stem cells which can turn into many different kinds of cells.

They used mice to determine if the rise in the production of cells was beneficial to spatial learning or memory.

Bai said: “We ran tests on two groups of mice, one which had imbibed ECGC and a control group. First the mice were trained for three days to find a visible platform in their maze. Then they were trained for seven days to find a hidden platform.”

The mice that were given ECGC found the hidden platform faster than the ones that were not, which revealed that EGCG boosted memory and learning by helping them recognize the object and improving their spacial memory.

Bai concluded:

“We have shown that organic chemical EGCG acts directly to increase the production of neural progenitor cells, both in glass tests and in mice. This helps us to understand the potential for EGCG, and green tea which contains it, to help combat degenerative diseases and memory loss.”

Green tea has also been known to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, improve depression symptoms by relaxing and calming the drinker, make skin look younger by reducing wrinkles, lower the risk of high blood pressure, and benefit diabetics because it slows the rise of blood sugar after eating.

Scientists at Cambridge University Hospitals, England, reported that turmeric, broccoli, green tea and pomegranate help prevent and stop prostate cancer, the most prevalent cancer in men in the USA and UK.

Written by Christine Kearney