We’ve always heard that green tea provides great support for our memories. FoodFacts.com came across new information today that supports the discovery that the chemical properties of green tea actually affect the generation of brain cells, providing benefits not only for memory, but spatial learning as well.

The research was conducted by the Third Military Medical University in China and published this month in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. The research has uncovered evidence that the properties of green tea may actually impact cellular mechanisms in the brain.

The researchers focused on the organic chemical epigallocatechin-3 gallate, which is an important property of green tea. EGCG is an antioxidant and the researchers believed that it could be beneficial in combating age-related degenerative diseases. It was felt that EGCG can impact the generation of neuron cells, so they focused the research on the hippocampus – the area in the brain that processes information including short-term and long-term memory.

The team discovered that their ideas were correct – EGCG increases the production of neural progenitor cells. These cells – like stem cells can differentiate into different kinds of brain cells. They then went further, using laboratory mice to find out whether the increase in this cell production increased memory or spatial learning. The mice were split into two groups – one given green tea and one which was not. The mice were then trained for three days to find a visible platform in a maze. Then they were trained for seven days to find a platform hidden in the maze.

The mice treated with EGCG found the hidden platform in less time, revealing that EGCG enhanced learning and memory, improves object recognition and spatial memory. The research concluded that in both laboratory tests and tests in mice, EGCG does directly increase the production of neural progenitor cells and points to the potential of the chemical and the green tea which contains it to aid in combating degenerative diseases and memory loss.

FoodFacts.com was excited to learn how an organic chemical present in something as simple as green tea holds great potential aid in the solution to the problems related to aging. And while we’re waiting for more substantiating research, we think we’ll be including green tea in our diets much more often starting right now!
Read more:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905083852.htm