Add this to the long list of good reasons to drink green tea: You’ll do a better job, at your job.
New research shows that green tea improves working memory, which is the type of cognitive functioning that allows you to grasp what you’re reading, or comprehend your boss’s instructions and then figure out how to do what she wants.
In a small April 2014 study, published by biomedical researchers at the University of Basel in the journal Psychopharmacology, participants performed a working memory task in which they had to watch letters flash on a screen and press a button if the letter was the same as the one that appeared one or two trials before it. Those who had taken a shot of a drink with 27.5 grams of green tea extract before the task did significantly better versus the control group.
Past research has demonstrated that working memory relies in part on communication between frontal and parietal regions of the brain. The Basel team took fMRI brain scans of subjects during the exercise and observed that the green tea drinkers had increased connectivity between the parietal and frontal cortex. The stronger the connection, the better their performance.
The study authors cannot say exactly what elements of the extract are responsible for the mental boost—both flavonoids and caffeine can benefit cognitive functioning—but they believe that the beverage induced “changes in short-term plasticity,” that is, the brain’s ability to form new connections.
The 27.5 grams of extract used in the study is equivalent to roughly 50 cups of green tea, which is a lot more than you should try to drink in a day, though that amount is readily available in green tea supplements. Three cups a day has been shown to help headaches and increase mental alertness (due to the caffeine), and five to 10 cups a day can help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease.Pair that with the anti-inflammatory and wrinkle-fighting action, and it’s certainly worth a steep.
READ MORE: The Easiest Way to Improve Memory in Mere Months