The benefits of green tea include lowering the risk of heart disease, improved blood flow, losing weight, and reducing the risk of diabetes. Brain health and cognitive function improve through neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, and other neuroprotective effects.
https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Neurogenesis.aspx Neuro means related to nerves. Genesis means forming something new. In our brains, neurogenesis is the creation and growth of new neurons. Neurogenesis is active in our younger years and wanes as we get older.
The polyphenol, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is one of many catechins in green tea. EGCG stimulates and supports neurogenesis as we age. Animal models show the growth of brain cells and protection of the hippocampus. When the brain is injured, EGCG assists in the development of new brain stem cells.
https://positivepsychology.com/neuroplasticity/ Our brains develop and function better by neuroplasticity, a process in which the brain adapts to changes in the environment. Learning is a dynamic process supported by the brain’s ability to act like a computer and update itself based on new information. Polish neuroscientist Jerzy Konorski coined the term neuroplasticity in 1948.
Use It or Lose It!
https://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/MJ16p5.shtml#:~:text=One%20popular%20adage%20that%20has,clearly%20leads%20to%20improved%20performance. The brain is like other muscles in the body. The unused muscles atrophy. Inactivity or immobility causes muscle mass loss. A professional golfer with an injured back cannot practice daily. Most professional golfers practice eight hours or more daily. Take away the daily muscle memory for driving, pitching, and putting, and professional talent decreases. The professional golfer becomes a highly skilled golfer when the ability to read greens, select the correct clubs, and adjust for wind and terrain are removed for periods of time.
The brain operates the same. Stimulated brain cells maintain peak cognitive performance when we use our brainpower daily. The brain continuously grows with new experiences and shrinks (https://www.healthline.com/health/brain-atrophy).
Learning creates new neural connections. Stop learning, and the brain does not enjoy vacations as most of us do to get away from everything bothering us. The rewiring process in the brain is part of its normal growth cycle. We see older people shutting down from new work experiences, living sedentary lifestyles, eating the same foods, cutting back on social activities, and more.
These everyday social interactions encourage and stimulate brain function. I have heard the phrase, “You are the same as your five closest friends.” many times from various motivational and success gurus. You might have heard the saying as your income is the average of your five closest friends.
The brain needs constant attention. EGCG stimulates BDNF, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF diminishes with age and impairs the ability of the brain to adapt. Brain injuries occur more readily when levels of BDNF are low. Studies with rats showed the positive impact of cognitive learning of older rats with EGCG-supplementation.
The risk of age-related disease escalates as inflammation in the brain increases. EGCG effectively fights inflammation to reduce and combat factors leading to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Brain damage (stroke) occurs when blood flow stops. EGCG protects the brain’s blood vessels and lessens the risk of blood clots forming in the brain and heart vessels and arteries. Green tea studies show the neuroprotective effects with other types of head trauma or injury also.
All of us grow older every day. We see some active people in their nineties playing golf and still actively involved in many programs. We also see many living in assisted care facilities dependent on others for a more inferior quality of life.
A disk jockey on a talk show in Houston, Texas, many years ago would end his radio show each day by saying, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy!” He also said periodically that one mother could take care of ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one mother. Both these sayings resonate with me today, a couple of decades after he retired from radio.
Every day should bring joy to our lives through our daily experiences and the challenges we undertake through continued learning. It might be Sudoku that my wife religiously does daily. Crossword puzzles are challenges. Many things can provide joy in our lives when we open our minds and take advantage of those opportunities.
Relationships are critical for healthy living. Studies have proved that social intercourse is vital for a happy and healthy brain. Inconvenience and inability drive decisions to send parents or grandparents to more isolated lives in elder-care facilities.
Some facilities do provide mental stimulation and support building relationships. However, they might not be enough to prevent gradual degradation of cognitive function and capacity.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com