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AS BRITS, there’s nothing we like more than sitting down with a nice cup of tea, and researchers have now found that drinking five brews a day can help improve brain function in later life.
Experts at Newcastle University found that people over the age of 85, who consumed more than five cups a day have more focus and a greater attention span than others.
The study found that they demonstrated better psychomotor skills – which link brain and movement.
Accuracy and speed of reaction were also skills that frequent tea drinkers displayed and could help with daily activities such as driving, sewing and finishing a jigsaw.
Research has previously shown that tea has benefits such as lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure.
Other studies have also shown that certain variations of tea can also help weight loss.
Dr Edward Okello, researcher at Newcastle University’s Human Nutrition Research Centre, said the improved functions could in fact be down to the routine of brewing up – rather than the actual drink making a difference.
He said: "The skills we see maintained in this group of the very old 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."
The tests were carried out on people over the age of 85 who were living in their own homes or in assisted living accommodation.
The experts found that those drinking five cups or more – with or without milk, performed better in certain cognitive tests.
The data was from the Newcastle 85+ study involving more than 1,000 people aged over 85 from Newcastle and North Tyneside which first started in 2006.
The studies are ongoing and around 200 participants are about to become centenarians.
Experts visit patients' homes and complete health questionnaires made up of fasting blood tests, function tests and measurements.
In order to examine the consumption of black tea, researchers look at the Camellia sinensis.
This is in order to understand whether or not the tea protects from cognitive decline.
The experts found that higher tea consumption was associated with significantly better attention skills and psychomotor speed on complex tasks.
They did however say that there was no association between tea consumption and overall measures of memory or performance on simple speed tasks.
The researchers suggest the findings mean that black tea should be considered for the very old in any diet which aims to improve attention and psychomotor speed.
Dr Okello said: "We now know that enjoying a cup of tea quenches your thirst and has benefits for over 85s' attention span."
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