Drinking green tea regularly could protect the brain against developing Alzheimer's. It could also protect you against other forms of dementia, a group of UK scientists claimed Thursday.
The study, conducted by researchers from Newcastle University, in northeastern England, also suggested the tea might help protect the body against cancer.
The university team studied whether green tea's protective properties, which previous studies showed to be present in the drink's undigested, freshly-brewed form, were still active after it was digested.
"What was really exciting about this study was that we found when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer's development than the undigested form of the tea," project leader Dr. Ed Okello said.
"In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumor cells, which we were using in our experiments."
Lab experiments exposed tumor cells to varying concentrations of different toxins as well as the digested green tea compounds.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Phytomedicine, suggested that the digested chemicals protected the cells, preventing the toxins from destroying them.
Okello acknowledged there were many lifestyle factors that influenced diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer but added.
"It's fair to say that at least one cup of green tea every day may be good for you, and I would certainly recommend it."
The Alzheimer's Society suggested the researchers used "far higher doses" than would be found in the human body and said more research was needed to see whether green tea was still protective in lower doses.