Regularly drinking green tea could protect the brain against developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, according to new research.
The study, published in the academic journal Phytomedicine, also suggests this ancient Chinese remedy could play a vital role in protecting the body against cancer.
Scientists at Newcastle University and the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee have been exploring the medicinal qualities of the tipple.
Dr Gordon McDougall, from the Dundee-based research institute, said: "This research shows that how we digest our food directly affects the possible biological effects and health benefits of food components.
“This research shows that how we digest our food directly affects the possible biological effects and health benefits of food components.
“This project used the state-of-the-art analytical techniques developed at the institute and follows on from research on the potential health effects of similar components that found at high levels in berries.”
Led by Dr Ed Okello, the team wanted to know if the protective properties of green tea – which have previously been shown to be present in the undigested, freshly brewed form of the drink – were still active once the tea had been digested.
Dr Okello, based in the school of agriculture, food and rural development at Newcastle University, added: “What was really exciting about this study was that we found when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer’s development than the undigested form of the tea.
“In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumour cells which we were using in our experiments.”