Monday May 24, 2010 | 3 comments
Our family is one out of four of those touched by mental illness. Just like families who are struggling with other serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease, we would have preferred to have been spared the dashed treatment hopes, the pain of a loved one, and the trips to the ER. But such is life. We just try to keep moving forward, with the realization that sometimes we must move back or take side excursions that lead to a dead end.
Ever since my tea journey began, I have harbored the fantasy that tea – or one of its amazing components – would emerge as the key to preventing or slowing the progress of the more serious brain disorders, among them schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. For the most part, that fantasy has remained just that – a fantasy. But there are a few promising signs.
In a February 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that participants (among 1,000 Japanese aged 70 years and older) who drank at least two cups of green tea daily were the least likely to show cognitive impairment. In particular, green teas’ catechins (antioxidants) – especially EGCG – may inhibit neuronal loss and prevent the formation of the tell-tale plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, according to a study in Nature Chemical Biology, published online on November 1, 2009.
Although there is little evidence that tea has much impact on the mental illness heavy hitters – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression – it is crystal clear that tea is an important weapon in caregivers’ arsenals to maintain their own health and prevent burnout. As we all know, a few quiet moments with a pot of tea do wonders to rejuvenate the body and the spirit and fortify us for the next battle ahead.
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