Regularly drinking green tea could protect the brain against Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, scientists said today.
The ancient Chinese remedy could also play a vital role in protecting the body against cancer, a Newcastle University study, published today in academic journal Phytomedicine, suggested.
Led by Ed Okello, the research team wanted to know if the protective properties of green tea -- previously shown to be present in the undigested, freshly brewed form of the drink -- are still active once the tea has been digested.
Dr Okello, from the university's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said: "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.
"In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumour cells which we were using in our experiments."
Dr Okello said: "There are obviously many factors which together have an influence on diseases such as cancer and dementia -- a good diet, plenty of exercise and a healthy lifestyle are all important.
"But I think it's fair to say that at least one cup of green tea every day may be good for you and I would certainly recommend it."