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Two cups of this drink a day can increase life span: it reduces the risk of death from leading causes of death

Tea is one of today’s most popular beverages, and research suggests that it can support health in important ways.

What you eat and drink daily can have a big impact on your quality of life and health. Many common diseases, often leading to premature death, are closely linked to lifestyle, and the likelihood of developing them can be reduced with a little care.

The most widely consumed thirst-quencher in the world is water, followed by tea, which comes in many different varieties, preparations and flavors. There have been numerous studies on the health effects of this popular drink, and recently a comprehensive study has come up with some very promising results for tea lovers.

The authors of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August 2022 wanted to find out whether there was a link between tea consumption, black tea in particular, and the risk of death. They analyzed data from almost 500,000 people aged between 40 and 69 years in the US Biobank. The study was conducted using blood, urine and saliva samples, a questionnaire completed between 2006 and 2010, and a follow-up of more than a decade.

Participants recorded their tea drinking habits, with 85 per cent admitting to drinking tea regularly, 89 per cent of them preferring black tea. Most people drank between 2 and 5 cups a day, with 19 per cent drinking more than six cups a day. The researchers recorded data on their diet, lifestyle, health and socio-economic status.

Compared with those who did not drink tea, those who drank at least two cups a day had a 9-13 per cent lower risk of mortality from any cause. In particular, the experts say that tea can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the adult population. The results were unaffected by the temperature at which individuals drank their tea and how they drank it, for example whether they added milk or sugar.

The positive effects of tea have been most studied in Asia, which also meant that, as green tea is the main beverage consumed in the region, most research focused on this beverage. The positive effects of tea on health are mainly due to its antioxidant content: for example, it is rich in polyphenols. Among other things, these plant compounds are known to support digestion and brain health, and may help prevent cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Theaflavin in black tea is a powerful antioxidant compound that can reduce inflammation, has antimicrobial properties and may help regulate blood fat levels as well.

Caffeine should be taken into account

When drinking tea, it is important to take into account the caffeine content of the beverage, with recommendations suggesting that 400 milligrams per day is safe, which is less than two average cups of black tea, but can easily be exceeded if you also drink coffee.

Researchers stress that although the study found a link between tea drinking and lower mortality risk, this does not mean that past tea drinking habits should be changed simply to protect health. It is also important to emphasize that drinking tea alone does not protect against cardiovascular disease, for example. The role of a balanced diet and regular exercise should not be underestimated either.

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