Good news for tea lovers!
It's definitely time to stick the kettle on, as drinking a cup of tea has been found to boost brainpower and improve performance in creative tasks. Researchers led from Peking University conducted experiments to see if drinking tea might improve our capabilities to perform so-called convergent thinking.
This is the type we use to solve problems in which the solution can be deduced by applying a series of well-defined rules and logical reasoning. The findings suggest habitual tea drinking may come with cognitive benefits, as well as its proposed health rewards — which have been suggested to include longer life.
The study was conducted by psychologist Lei Wang of Peking University, China, and colleagues. 'Our results suggest that tea can help improve mental performance when faced with a particularly challenging task,' explained Dr Wang. The beverage, she added, 'also helps people persist in that task without tiring.' 'Our research also suggests that habitual tea drinkers see greater cognitive benefits compared to occasional tea drinkers.'
In their study, the researchers recruited a total of 100 individuals and tasked them with either completing word association tasks or solving riddles, which were set to varying degrees of difficulty. First, however, each subject was either given to drink a cup of water or one of Lipton's black tea — both heated to a temperature of around 108°F (42°C).
The team found that the tea drinkers performed better than water drinkers when set a creative task with a high level of difficulty. However, the benefits of a cup of tea seen found to be only marginal when the challenge at hand was of a lower difficulty level. Furthermore, tea was also found to be associated with more persistent problem-solving as the subjects moved into the latter half of their tests — a phenomenon the team have dubbed the 'split-half effect'.
In addition, the researchers found that 'the participants in the tea group were happier and more interested in the task than those in the water group.' 'The results have important practical significance for those who are engaged in creative work or those who are prone to fatigue,' they concluded.
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.