NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Regularly drinking green tea could help protect the brain against developing Alzheimer's and other illnesses, British researchers say.
Scientists at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne in England, led by Ed Okello, studied the effect of digestion on green tea compounds known as polyphenols that may possess neuroprotective properties because they bind with toxic compounds.
"There are certain chemicals we know to be beneficial and we can identify foods which are rich in them but what happens during the digestion process is crucial to whether these foods are actually doing us any good," Okello said in a statement.
The study, published in Phytomedicine, found green tea polyphenols broken down in the gut to produce a mix of compounds. This new mix, when tested, was not only still protective against Alzheimer's disease but could also help protect the body against cancer.
"What was really exciting about this study was that we found when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer's development than the undigested form of the tea," Okello said in a statement. "In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumor cells which we were using in our experiments."