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Green tea beats the blues

22nd December 2009

Older adults who consume a lot of green tea are less likely to feel depressed, according to a new Japanese study.

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The researchers said that the antidepressant effect is probably a biochemical reaction to something in green tea, which is less oxidised on the whole than the black tea consumed throughout Europe.

Many people living in east Asia consume the tea on a daily basis, and the Japanese research team found that people aged 70 and older reduced their likelihood of depression when they drank four or more cups of green tea daily.

Of the 1,058 study subjects, 34% of the males and 39% of the females had depression.

488 of them reported drinking more than four cups of green tea a day, while 284 drank between two and three cups of the drink.

The researchers were able to confirm a statistical correlation between the consumption of green tea and alleviated symptoms of depression independent of gender, diet, economic status, or antidepressant use.

However, they could not find any similar association between oxidised green teas (such as oolong tea), coffee, or black tea, suggesting that their finding relates to an alkaloid or molecule present only in fresh tea leaves.

The recent Japanese study is not the first to link psychological health with green tea consumption, and the researchers believe that further studies are needed in order to confirm their finding.

Niu said that the amino acid theanine, which is thought to have a tranquillising effect on the brain, might add to the potentially beneficial effects of green tea.

 

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