Tea health benefits: Brew can 'spark instant burst of brainpower and creativity'

Just minutes after a brew, volunteers scored higher results in creative and cognition tests than those people who had drunk a glass of water, researchers found.

Although tea contains caffeine and theanine, both associated with increased attentiveness and alertness, these do not usually take effect instantly.

Instead, scientists from Peking University’s School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, believe that a cup of tea enhances our mood which sparks the brain’s cognitive regions into life.

Fifty students took part in the study which was for the specialist journal Food Quality and Preference.

Half were given a cup of black tea and the rest were given a glass of water before performing two tests.

In the first they were asked to make an “attractive and creative” design out of building blocks and in the second they were asked to come up with a “cool” name for a noodle restaurant.

Their efforts were judged by another group of students.

In the block building test, the tea drinkers scored 6.54 points against 6.03 points for the water drinkers.

In the name test, the tea drinkers scored 4.11 against 3.78.

The researchers claim the results show that tea helped both divergent thinking - the process of coming up with a number of new ideas around a central theme and what most people would consider to define creativity.

Yan Huang, who led the team, said the good feelings created by a cuppa were more of an influence on the students’ performance than the chemicals involved.

He said: “This work contributes to understanding the function of tea on creativity and offers a new way to investigate the relationship between food and beverage consumption and the improvement of human cognition.

“Two biological ingredients, caffeine and theanine, have beneficial effects on attention, which is an indispensable part of cognitive function.

“But the amount of tea ingredients our participants absorbed was relatively small.

“Also, theanine facilitates long-term sustained attentional processing rather than short-term moment-to-moment attentional processing.”

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