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Green Tea May Improve Working Memory

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Although the effects of green tea are thoroughly studied in cancer research, there is limited research that examines the impact the beverage has on the brain. A new study conducted by the University of Basel in Switzerland sought to examine this unknown relationship and studied the impact of green tea on brain activity.

A team of researchers led by Professor Christoph Belinger and Professor Stefan Borgwardt examined the effects of green tea on healthy male volunteers. Half of the participants were given a whey-based soft drink containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract while the other half were given the same whey-based soft drink without the green tea extract. Subjects then
underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) and were given several working memory tasks.

Upon evaluation of the FMRIs, the researchers found that the participants who drank the green tea extract displayed increased connectivity and brain activity in the frontal and parietal cortex — the areas of the brain responsible for memory function. Subjects who were given the green tea soft drink also scored significantly higher on the working memory tasks than those who did not consume the green tea beverage.

The study’s findings suggest promising clinical implications for future Alzheimer’s and dementia research and treatment. Green tea is well-known for being rich in antioxidants and it is promising to see that the beverage’s positive properties may improve brain health.

Source: Schidt, A. et al. (2014). Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing. The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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