In a new study from the National University of Singapore Sociology, researchers found there’s an association between consistent and frequent tea drinking and strongly fewer depression symptoms in older adults.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders for the elderly, with “major depressive disorder” now affecting about 7% of adults over the age of 60 worldwide.
A growing body of research has explored risk factors for elderly depression, including biomarkers, behavior characteristics, socioeconomic status, family structure, living arrangement, and community environment.
Among these factors, drinking tea, one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world, is drawing researchers’ attention.
One key debate on the benefit of tea over mental health is whether the potential impact comes from the biochemical components of tea or the social context of tea drinking.
In the study, the team analyzed data from over 13,000 elderly participants. They found consistent daily tea drinking remained a strong preventive factor against depressive symptoms.
Urban living, education level, marital status, economic adequacy, better health, and engagement in social activities are also related to fewer depressive symptoms.
When dividing the groups by age and gender, researchers found that the association between tea-drinking and less depressive symptoms was strong only for males between 65-79 years old.
It is likely that the benefit of tea drinking is more evident for the early stage of heath deterioration.
The study also finds that the mean age, proportions of men and urban residents, and proportions of education, marital status, and receiving a pension, were relatively higher among those who frequently and consistently drink tea.
Meanwhile, tea drinkers tended to smoke and drink but had better physical and cognitive functioning. And they were more socially involved.
The team says consistent and frequent tea drinking may effectively reduce the risk of depressive symptoms for the elderly.
If you care about depression and your health, please read studies about why depression drugs may not work for some patients and findings of eating fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of depression.
For more information about depression prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about common daily nutrient could protect you from depression and results showing that depression symptoms could be signs for cognitive decline in some people.
The study is published in BMC Geriatrics. One author of the study is Feng Qiushi.
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