Green tea has long been hailed as a cardio-protective beverage due to its ability to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, an established heart disease risk factor. It has also been shown to promote brain health because the active compound, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) freely crosses the blood-brain barrier to provide antioxidant support and lower damaging levels of brain inflammation.
Researchers from Japan reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrate that regular green tea consumption lowers the risk of developing functional disabilities that lead to problems with daily chores and activities, such as bathing or dressing. Drinking up to five cups of green tea each day can lower the risk of developing functional disabilities as we age by nearly one half.
Daily Green Tea Consumption Significantly Lowers Risk of Functional Decline
Prior studies have determined that consuming green tea lowers the risk of diseases associated with functional disability, such as osteoporosis, cognitive impairment and stroke. To date, no formal studies have been conducted to confirm the impact of green tea consumption on functional ability. Researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan modeled this study to affirm the positive results associated in the past with drinking green tea.
To design this research work, scientists handed out questionnaires to nearly 14,000 respondents aged 65 or older. The participants answered questions about general diet, green tea consumption and lifestyle. After a period of five years, researchers were able to find a close inverse link between functional disability risk and the consumption of green tea. Higher intake of green tea was associated with a dramatically lower risk of functional disability in the group studied.
Green Tea Drinking Lowers Risk of Functional Disability in the Elderly
The research team concluded that nearly 13% of the participants consuming the lowest amount of green tea (one cup or less each day) developed moderate to severe degrees of functional disability. By contrast, only 7% of those consuming the highest amount of green tea (5 cups or more each day) were classified with any degree of functional decline. The highest level of green tea consumption was shown to cut the risk of functional and cognitive decline by close to one-half.
The researchers noted that those consuming five or more cups of green tea each day also ate more fruit and vegetables, consumed more fish, were less likely to smoke, had fewer strokes or heart attacks, and tended to have a higher level of education. Improved dietary and lifestyle considerations are synergistic factors that compliment green tea consumption and likely contribute to the positive results in this study. Health-minded individuals already follow strict dietary principles to maintain brain health and functional abilities. Drinking 5 or more cups of green tea each day are shown to boost the healthy benefits associated with proper nutrition and lifestyle.