There are many dietary choices that can benefit brain function – including enjoying a cup or two of green tea daily.
Green tea has high levels of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and an antioxidant. Green tea also is a source of L-theanine, which is an amino acid that can improve focus, relieve anxiety, and promote calmness. Additionally, green tea typically has 25-30mg caffeine per cup, compared to nearly 100mg caffeine in most cups of coffee.
In fact, a 2016 meta-analysis found daily green tea consumption reduced the risk of cognitive decline as well as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A 2017 review found green tea to reduce anxiety, improve memory and attention, and improve brain function. A 2008 review found that drinking green tea decreased the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease and drinking 2 or more cups of green tea per day was associated decreased rates of cognitive impairment.
When choosing green tea, keep in mind that products will vary in quality. In general, look for the following:
- Regular, caffeinated tea bags or loose leaf tea – the decaffeinated varieties have lower levels of antioxidants and active components
- Minimally processed – choose loose leaf tea or tea bags instead of pre-bottled or sweetened varieties
- Organic – to avoid exposure to chemicals and improve taste
While green tea has much less caffeine that a typical cup of coffee, it is still wise to enjoy your cups earlier in the day to prevent any caffeine-related sleep disruptions. Experiment with starting your day off with a cup of tea instead of a cup of coffee or stopping for “tea time” mid-morning – not only is this a great way feed your brain, but it can also help to build a habit of slowing down and bring a sense of calmness to a busy day.
For more information or to learn more about AFFIRMATIVhealth’s RE:mind Program, a science-based program to improve cognitive function, please visit www.affirmativhealth.com.