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Green Tea Helps Memory

Posted 4/27/2014

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  My mother had a few rock solid convictions, and one was that a "nice cup of tea helps any problem." The problem could be physical, in which the cup of tea should also contain a great deal of honey, or emotional, in which case the tea could be sweetened or lemoned or milked to choice. She, however, was not talking about green tea. Her cup of choice was always a fairly traditional black tea--but never Lipton and rarely made with a tea bag. Loose tea was important, first filling the tea pot with hot water, so it would warm (similar to always putting the dinner plates into a low oven for ten minutes or so), and then bringing it (emptied) to the boiling water, so that the boiling water went directly from stove top to pot.

  When I was growing up, tea happened almost every day at 4:00 and was usually accompanied by a cookie or two. How civilized and quaint that now seems! When we lived in Japan, I was first introduced to green tea, and it was a learning process to come to like it. If you have ever attended a formal Japanese tea ceremony, you know that the ceremonial  tea is particularly bitter. More recently, green tea has become very common and the flavor has improved; I especially like the mint variety. I do still have tea at some point most days, but I drink it because I like it, and I suppose that it comforts me in a familial way. I don't drink it to improve my memory, but based on this study reported in Medscape, maybe I should.

Green Tea's Impact on Cognitive Function Now Clear
Megan Brooks

Green tea appears to boost memory by enhancing functional brain connectivity, a new imaging study suggests.
A study led by Stefan Borgwardt, MD, PhD, from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Basel, Switzerland, shows that drinking a green tea extract enhances memory performance, a finding that researchers suggest may have important clinical implications for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, including cognitive impairment.
This is "the first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections," the investigators write.
The study was published online March 19 in Psychopharmacology.

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