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Two active ingredients in tea will give your cognitive powers a big boost. 

Elisabeth Sherman
January 17, 2018

Are you an avid tea drinker? If so, there’s a chance you might have a more active imagination than people who abstain from beverage, at least according to a new study.

Psychologists at Peking University in China—who published their study in the Food Quality and Preference—studied 50 students all in their early twenties (a pretty small sample size). According to the Independent, half of the students were given black tea and the other half were given a glass of water, before their “cognitive and creative skills” were tested.

The students were given two types of tests: In the first, they had to construct a building out of blocks, and in the second, they had to come with a creative name for a noodle restaurant. The results were then judged by their peers who had not participated in the study. The tea drinkers consistently earned higher marks for their creativity in both the building blocks and the restaurant naming challenge.

The results led the researchers to the conclusion that drinking tea before engaging in a task that demands creativity must boost our cognitive ability, but they also add the stipulation that their test subjects only drank a small amount of the beverage right before being tested. That means that there’s no evidence drinking tea over a long period of time will improve your overall creativity.

Still, the paper points out that regardless of the amount of tea you drink, it does contain two ingredients that are known to benefit your brain.

“Two biological ingredients, caffeine and theanine, have beneficial effects on attention, which is an indispensable part of cognitive function,” the paper states.

Maybe the lesson here is don’t depend on tea to turn you into a brilliant artist, but if you’re working a big project that requires you to turn up your imaginative powers, it probably wouldn’t hurt to brew yourself a cup of tea.