In Brief

Drinking tea ‘secret to longer, healthier life’

New research suggests three cups a week could dramatically reduce risk of heart disease

Drinking tea at least three times a week could be the key to a longer, healthier life, a new study has shown.

Chinese researchers analysed data from 100,902 participants with no previous history of heart attack, stroke or cancer, and found that “habitual” tea drinkers had a 20% lower risk of having heart disease and stroke, and a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.

Specifically, they found that regular tea drinkers, classed as those drinking tea three or more times a week, could expect to live 1.26 years longer at age 50 than those who did not.

The study was carried out in China, “where drinking green tea was most common – and appeared to show the strongest link”, says The Daily Telegraph.

No significant association were observed for black tea but as only 8% of habitual tea drinkers in the study preferred black tea, “more research may be needed to explore this more fully”, says Metro.

The team behind the research said the benefits of green tea could be linked to it being rich in polyphenols, nutrients which protect against cardiovascular disease and its risk factors such as high blood pressure.

As the world's most popular drink after water, “tea-drinking habits varied from place to place and the findings might not apply to Western countries, where black tea was a more popular choice - often taken with milk or sugar”, says CNN.

iNews notes that “black tea is often served with milk, which previous research has shown may counteract the tea’s benefits for the vascular system”.

Dr Dongfeng Gu from China's National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, said the conclusions of previous research on the health benefits of tea has been inconsistent, with CNN noting that “green tea had been associated with lower risk of cadiovascular disease in Japan but in the UK no link was observed with black tea taken with milk”.

However, the new study did note that the two cups per week as cut-off point was very little when compared to the average consumption of three to four cups per day in the UK.

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