What is dementia?
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There’s no doubt that Britons love a good cup of tea. While black tea is the most popular choice that beats every other brew, three other teas could offer more than a pleasant drink. Packed with “anti-inflammatory” and “antioxidant” properties, these hot beverages could help slash your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a GP.
From filling the kettle with the perfect amount of water to adding the final splash of milk to your brew, making tea probably feels like second nature to you.
However, GP Gill Jenkins from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) suggests that it might be time to switch your usual choice for German chamomile, rosehip and spearmint.
A recent review by TAP found that these three herbal drinks can boost memory.
Jenkins said: “With this capacity, researchers have evaluated the potential benefit of these three herbal teas in reducing [the risk of] Alzheimer’s disease.
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“Alzheimer’s disease is in part an inflammatory disease.
“These three teas contain anti-inflammatory compounds which has helped to drive interest in these teas for Alzheimer’s.”
Jenkins said: “A laboratory study has suggested that the memory-boosting function of German chamomile, due to its antioxidant content, and hence its free radical scavenging capacity, could be beneficial in people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Rich in “anti-inflammatory” compounds like apigenin and luteolin, chamomile can also help facilitate the development of brain cells and strengthen connections between them.
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Also packed with “anti-inflammatory” and antioxidant powers, rosehip could help protect your brain cells from inflammation.
Jenkins said: “Specifically, [it] has been shown to reduce the formation of so-called ‘dark neurons’ (nerve cells) which are linked with impaired memory.
“A laboratory study found that rosehip reduced the memory deficits caused by cognitive impairment in dementia with signs of reduced oxidative stress in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.”
Last but not least, spearmint’s powers seem to be hidden in one of its main components – rosmarinic acid.
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Jenkins said: “With regards to spearmint, research has investigated its effect on the formation and deposition of specific proteins, such as amyloid fibrils in the brain, associated with specific types of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Spearmint and one of its main components, rosmarinic acid, have been shown to suppress the formation of amyloid fibrils and ‘dissolve’ them when they are already present in the brain.”
Don’t just take the expert’s word for, research, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, also backs this herbal tea when it comes memory.
Looking at 90 older participants with age-related memory impairment, the team found that taking spearmint helped to improve working memory.
Jenkins added: “While further clinical research on the impact of these three herbal teas on brain health, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease, is required, evidence that they boost memory is emerging with mechanistic explanations as to why their anti-inflammatory constituents could improve cognitive health and hence people’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
If swapping your regular tea for a herbal alternative appeals to you, the expert shared how much to drink in order to reap the benefits.
The GP added: “These three herbal teas potentially have a positive impact on brain health and can be consumed in amounts of two to four cups daily, for example, one to two cups of each of the three types or two to four cups of one of the teas as preferred.
“Teas of all types are beneficial for social interaction, which is in itself a positive feature for reducing the risk of poor cognitive function.”
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