Can Green Tea Really Help to Stave Off Alzheimer’s Disease?
Posted by Sherry C. on Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Green tea has long been recognized for its many healthy properties, but there is growing scientific research pointing to the fact that green tea may offer health benefits beyond what was originally attributed to this nutritious beverage. Healthy components of green tea have been scientifically found to offer countless health benefits, from providing a strong defense against free radicals to lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, but can green tea really help with Alzheimer’s disease?
Not All Green Tea is Created Equal
It’s important to note that while there are many different varieties of green tea including, camellia, sencha, jasmine, and other types of green tea, the variety of tea that has been suggested to have the highest levels of antioxidants is “matcha tea.” Matcha comes in a bright green powder form to dissolve in water. The entire tea leaf is ground into a powdered form, and then ingested (as compared to tea bags that are much weaker in strength). In fact, when you drink one cup of matcha tea, it has the equivalent of approximately 10 cups of brewed green tea derived from soaking tea bags in hot water. When drinking loose tea or tea bag varieties of tea, the water is only able to absorb a small quantity of the nutrients, much of the antioxidants are thrown away when the used tea bag gets disposed of.
Healthy Components of Matcha Green Tea
According to experts, active flavonoids called catechins are antioxidants that prevent cell damage. EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is the most prevalent catechin in matcha green tea. EGCG works to counteract the negative effects of free radicals (such as pollution, UV rays, radiation and chemicals) in the cell which can eventually lead to damage of the DNA. Free radicals (resulting from normal metabolism of oxygen in the brain) are a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Matcha green tea also offers a unique amino acid called L-Theanine which is said to promote relaxation by creating alpha waves in the brain, as compared to beta waves-which are prevalent when the mind is in a stressful state. L-Theanine is common in all varieties of tea, but matcha green tea is said to offer as much as 5 times the level of L-Theanine other types of green or black teas contain.
Antioxidant Level of Green Tea
According to a recent study at Tufts University, matcha green tea offers 20 times the antioxidants as pomegranates or blueberries. This study implemented innovative research using a testing method called the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) level. Below are the ratings the study assigned to various foods known to be high in antioxidants:
Matcha-1573 units per gram
Golgi berries-253 units per gram
Pomegranates -105 units per gram
Blueberries-93 units per gram
Acai-60 units per gram
Broccoli-31 units per gram
Spinach-12.5 units per gram
Research on Green Tea and Alzheimer’s Disease
A study in 2013 revealed that green tea helped to improve a wide range of cardiac conditions. We know that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain, but how can green tea help with Alzheimer’s disease?
Many other studies point to the fact that green tea helps to protect the brain from formation of beta amyloid plaques (which are thought to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease).
In 2014, a study at the University of Basel in Switzerland revealed that green tea helped to improve cognitive function. This was one of the most impressive studies on green tea, using MRI technology to observe the effects of the healthy beverage on the brains of 2 groups of participants. The first group drank green tea and the 2nd ingested a placebo. The study revealed that the tea drinking group had notably increased brain activity, in the area of the brain having to do with memory, compared to those who drank the placebo. The more green tea that was consumed, the higher the level of brain activity- observed on MRI’s of the tea drinking group.
A study at The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center found that green tea worked to bind to beta amyloid, changing its properties. Dr. Mi Hee Lim, lead researcher, discovered that the flavonoid ECGC in green tea could actually bind to the protein beta-amyloid; rendering it less able to form plaques that commonly occur in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.
While these studies are providing much hope for the use of green tea in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, much more research is required before it is adopted as a mainstream treatment for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. Learn more about the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE to order Dr. Isaacson’s book, “The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet” book.
For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.