Drinking tea helps prevent dementia: NUS study

An apple a day may keep the doctors away but tea could stave off dementia, a National University of Singapore study has found.
PHOTO: Pixabay

An apple a day may keep the doctors away but tea could stave off dementia, a National University of Singapore study has found.

Regular tea drinkers are less likely to get dementia compared with those who do not drink tea at all, and all that is needed is around 200ml, or the average kopitiam cuppa, once a day.

Tea can also help those whose genetics predispose them to getting Alzheimer's disease - the most common form of dementia - keep the disease at bay.

Whether the tea is green, black or oolong makes no difference, said Assistant Professor Feng Lei, who conducted the study.

The results, published last year, apply only to tea brewed with leaves from the tea plant - formally known as camellia sinensis - and not to fruit or flower teas.

Adding milk to tea will reduce the absorption of one of the chemicals called catechin.

An insight into Singapore's first home for people with dementia

  • Mr Loh Soh Chye playing the drum and cymbals with six-year-olds Emily Yuliani Fichera (far left) and Ezra Gabriel Dela Cruz. Mr Loh was one of 38 residents from Apex Harmony Lodge who participated in an intergenerational exchange with 59 children from Holy Trinity Kindergarten and 15 students from Siglap Secondary School to mark World Alzheimer's Day on 23 September 2016.
  • Apex Harmony Lodge residents head to Changi Beach Park for morning exercise as part of the Agility programme where nature is used as a stimulant to enhance the well-being of people with dementia in balance, coordination, reflexes, endurance and strength training with a sense of freedom.
  • Apex Harmony Lodge residents travel to Orchid Laundry to fold a variety of dry-cleaned towels and mats as part of therapeutic work activity in the community, as well as enjoy getting their own favorite hawker food for lunch.
  • Apex Harmony Lodge residents take the public bus out to White Sands Shopping Centre for breakfast and undergo cooking and creative therapy in the afternoon.
  • The residents of Apex Harmony Lodge.
  • A resident of Apex Harmony Lodge.
  • Apex Harmony Lodge residents attend sessions on Moss Therapy and Silverable Me in the home.

Prof Feng, who is from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's psychological medicine department, studied nearly 1,000 Singaporean Chinese seniors from 2003 to 2010.

Although the study was conducted among the Chinese, its results should apply to other ethnicities, Prof Feng said.

Dementia affects an estimated one in 10 people aged over 60 in Singapore, where the population of people 65 and over is expected to double to 900,000 by 2030. ­

This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.