As a busy woman with her hands full, green tea used to be the drink that I would constantly consume. I knew of its benefits when it comes to metabolism and fighting cancer growth cells. However, after many drastic changes in my life, I stopped drinking green tea without much thought to it. I retreated to coffee and tea since then until I found the article, “New Study Shows That Green Tea Boosts Working Memory” written by David DiSalvo.
In the article, it states, “Its active ingredients have been linked to an array of health benefits, including weight loss, decreasing anxiety, and stopping the growth of cancer cells. And now new research adds ‘memory enhancer’ to the list.” According to our textbook, the working memory is defined as a limited-capacity for temporary storage and manipulation of information for complex tasks such as comprehension, learning, and reasoning (pp. 131 to 132). The working memory works very closely with your short-term memory. It is responsible for helping you solve problems, including schoolwork, and enables you to use your reasoning by using your memories. As it also stated in the textbook, “working memory is concerned not just with how information is stored, but with how information is manipulated in the service of various forms of cognition” (p. 132). Without our working memory, we would not be able to remember what to do in certain situations or figure out how to do math problems or such things that requires you to use your comprehension and reasoning. It is a very complex, yet valuable, system in your brain which your everyday life relies on.
According to the website under “About.com”, the green tea is very popular in China and Japan. It is somewhat of a coincidence that the stereotypes regarding the people of the Asia countries are exceptional in solving math problems and are considered to be some of the most intelligent people there are. Perhaps there is a tie between the two? That’s up to the researchers. The green tea is originally made from the leaves from “Camellia sinensis” that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. The green tea, as stated by the About.com website, “is a type of tea that is harvested and quickly preserved.” It’s more popular in China and Japan than it is here in America but there is a great growth in the popularity of the green tea among the Americans due to the health benefits associated with it. They have different flavors of green tea in the popular grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Price Chopper, Stop and Shop, and so on. However, the website About.com recommends that you purchase the green tea from high-end grocery places like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca or specialty grocery stores like Japanese or Chinese grocers.
Back to the article written by David DaSalvo, this article emphasizes that the green tea helps with your working memory as well as all the other benefits. The article explained how the research was done where they had some participants drink the actual green tea and others drink whey protein that tastes and looks like green tea. Then the researchers examined their brain with fMRI machine and the participants had to complete a task that tested their working memory. The results were as stated on the article, “participants who drank the beverage containing green tea extract performed better on the memory tasks, and their brains showed a distinctly different activation pattern between their frontal and parietal lobes. The frontal lobe, home of our most advanced thinking abilities, sits (as the name suggests) at the front of the brain, while the parietal lobe sits just behind it toward the back of the brain. The parietal lobe plays a large role in how our brains process sensory information and language.” It further explained the green tea actually intensifies the interplay between these areas of the brain which I find very interesting. Although, it does admit that in order to consume the same amount of green tea, we would have to drink several cups of green tea a day to match their green tea extract that they used in these drinks. Nonetheless, it proves to me that there are benefits in this drink and that includes improving our working memory. The researchers hope to experiment with a larger group of people but are confident in the evidence they’ve collected thus far.
Overall, this article motivates me to get back into my old habit of drinking more green tea and I’d like to recommend that you’d do the same. As long as we find the brand that we like and let it replace unhealthier drinks like soda and such, it likely will benefit us in the long run. Lucky for me, there is a Whole Foods store conveniently close to my new job and I definitely plan to give them a visit soon. Green tea, welcome back!
Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience, 3rd Edition. Wadsworth, Inc.