Drink green tea if you want to fight the blues, a study form Japan suggests. This could work prticularly well with the elderly.
A research team led by Dr Kaijun Niu at Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering in Sendai found that people who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were 44 per cent less likely to have symptoms of depression. The study subjects were men and women aged 70 and older.
Several studies have linked green tea consumption to reduced levels of psychological distress. This led Dr Niu and his colleagues to look at associations between drinking green tea and symptoms of depression in 1,508 relatively healthy elderly individuals.
Overall, 488 participants said they drank four or more cups of green tea a day, 284 said they downed tow to three cups daily and the remaining 286 reported having one or fewer cups daily.
According to the researchers, the apparent protective effect of greater green tea consumption on symptoms of depression did not fade after they factored in social and economic status, gender, diet, history of medical problems, use of antidepressant medications, smoking and physical activity.
In contrast, there was no association between consumption of black or Oolog tea, or coffee, and lower symptoms of repression.
A green tea component, the amino acid theanine, which is thought to have a tranquilising effect on the brain, may explain the “potentially beneficial effect” shown in the current study, Dr Niu noted in an e-mail message to Reuters Health.
However, further studies are necessary to confirm whether greater green tea intake actually has antidepressant effects.