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Mark Lennihan  /  AP file
The healthful chemicals in green tea might be behind its benefits.
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updated 11/20/2012 7:00:00 PM ET 2012-11-21T00:00:00

Prepare to be a genius!

If your brain requires a morning jolt to get going, think beyond a cup of Joe and go green. That's because green tea can help improve memory and cognition in men, reports a new study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers recruited 12 healthy men and divided them into two groups. One group consumed a drink containing a green tea extract, while a placebo group was given a drink without the extract.

For more natural ways to give your mind and body a much-needed boost try these The Top 10 Supplements for Men.

Then, using an MRI machine, scientists took an inside look into the men's brains while they performed a memory test. Compared to the placebo group, the green tea drinkers experienced an increase in the activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory, which you need for problem solving and focus.

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How it works: Green tea is chock full of polyphenols like EGCG. These healthful chemicals might be behind green tea's benefits. "Green tea may help prevent neurotransmitters involved in brain functioning, like dopamine and epinephrine, from degrading. It may also inhibit senile plaques from depositing in the brain, which impairs cognition," says study co-author Stefan Borgwardt, M.D., of the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

(Green tea isn't the only food that improves cognitive functioning. Fend off anxiety, depression, restlessness, and more with these 6 Foods That Boost Your Brain.)

Though researchers only looked at green tea extract, consider drinking a cup or two instead. (It'll fill you up and you'll avoid additives, like artificial sugars, found in many extracts.) Pair it with your workout to create The Ultimate Brainpower Boosting Workout!

More men's health news:
Smiling men can make women act subordinate
Is it in his genes? Why men won't go to the doctor
Smoking pot linked to testicular cancer

More from Men's Health:

125 Best Foods for Men
The Face-Off: Coffee vs. Tea
Stay Strong for Life
The Spartacus Workout

© 2012 Rodale Inc. All rights reserved.

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