Professor Yun Bai of the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, and his team focused on the organic chemical epigallocatechin-3 gallate, known as EGCG, an antioxidant in green tea.
"Green tea is a popular beverage across the world," Bai said in a statement. "There has been plenty of scientific attention on its use in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases, but now there is emerging evidence that its chemical properties may impact cellular mechanisms in the brain."
The study, published in journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, found EGCG boosted the production of neural progenitor cells, which like stem cells can adapt, or differentiate, into various types of cells.
"We ran tests on two groups of mice, one which had imbibed EGCG and a control group," Bai said in a statement. "First the mice were trained for three days to find a visible platform in their maze. Then they were trained for seven days to find a hidden platform."
The study found the EGCG treated mice required less time to find the hidden platform and overall EGCG enhanced learning and memory by improving object recognition and spatial memory.