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Stick the kettle on How five cups of tea a day can keep elderly brain healthy

Pensioners who drink more than five cups a day have been found to have better brain function than their counterparts who do not, researchers have said.

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Researchers found elderly tea drinkers had better brain function

Researchers found elderly tea drinkers had better brain function

Researchers found elderly tea drinkers had better brain function

It is often said that any problem can be solved with a good cup of tea, and a new study has found there is science to supp-ort it.

Pensioners who drink more than five cups a day have been found to have better brain function than their counterparts who do not, researchers have said.

In a study of 676 people aged over 85, tea drinkers who enjoyed more than five mugs a day were shown to have more focus and a sustained attention span.

The Newcastle University research also found they demonstrated better psychomotor skills which link brain and movement.

Tea drinkers showed better accuracy and speed of reaction.

These skills could help in daily activities such as driving, sewing and finishing a jigsaw.

Previous research showed tea has health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and may even aid weight loss.

"We now know that enjoying a cup of tea quenches your thirst and has benefits for over-85s' attention span," said Dr Edward Okello, from Newcastle University's Human Nutrition Research Centre.

Researchers studied the tea- drinking habits of those aged over 85 and living in their own homes or in assisted accommodation and found those who drank more than five cups of tea a day - with or without milk - performed better cognitively.

They used data from the flagship Newcastle 85+ study involving more than 1,000 people aged over 85 from Newcastle and North Tyneside.

Started in 2006, studies are still continuing, with around 200 participants as they be- come centenarians.

Research nurses gather information by visiting participants in their own homes to complete a health assessment made up of questionnaires, measurements, function tests and a fasting blood test.

Examining the consumption of black tea, Camellia sinensis, the researchers were looking for evidence that it protected against cognitive decline.

They found that higher tea consumption was associated with significantly better attention skills and psychomotor speed on complex tasks.

However, they found no association between tea consumption and overall measures of memory or performance on simple speed tasks.

The results have been published in BMC Nutrition.

The researchers suggest the findings mean black tea should be considered for the very old in any diet.

However, Dr Okello said he could not be sure if it was the drink or the routine of making it that made the difference.

"The skills we see maintained in this group may not only be due to the compounds present in tea, but it may also be the rituals of making a pot of tea or sharing a chat over a cup of tea which are just as important," he said.

Another study has shown that drinking three cups of tea every day could slash the risk of Alzheimer's by more than a third.

Researchers in the US identified a link between protection from the degenerative disease and flavonols found in tea.


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