Tea Time: How Drinking The Beverage Can Save Your Life

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Drinking tea is a vice for many, but it is a vice that can extend your life span. According to researchers, who studied nearly 150,000 subjects, drinking tea can reduce non-cardiovascular mortality by a whopping 24 percent.

“If you have to choose between tea or coffee it’s probably better to drink tea,” said Professor Nicolas Danchin, who presented the findings at the ESC Congress, in a press release. “Coffee and tea are important components of our way of life. Their effects on cardiovascular (CV) health have been investigated in the past with sometimes divergent results. We investigated the effects of coffee and tea on CV mortality and non-CV mortality in a large French population at low risk of cardiovascular diseases.”

The researchers looked at subjects aged 18 to 95 at the Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center between January 2001 and December 2008. They then used self-administered questionnaire to determine coffee and tea consumption and categorized it into three categories — none, one to four cups a day, and more than four cups a day. “Overall we tend to have a higher risk profile for coffee drinkers and a lower risk profile for tea drinkers,” said Danchin. “We also found big differences with gender. Men tend to drink coffee much more than women, while women tend to drink more tea than men.”

Additionally, non-coffee drinkers were found to be more physically active as tea drinkers physical activity increased with the amount of tea they drank. A minor blood pressure benefit was seen, with tea drinkers having a slightly lower blood pressure than coffee drinkers. Specifically, a 4-5 mmHg decrease in SBP and 3 mmHg decrease in DBP. “Overall we tend to have a higher risk profile for coffee drinkers and a lower risk profile for tea drinkers,” added Danchin. “We also found big differences with gender. Men tend to drink coffee much more than women, while women tend to drink more tea than men.”

The reason why tea was significantly healthier and a life-saving beverage is due to the flavonoid content, an antioxidant that is considered to be heart-healthy. “Tea drinking lowered the risk of non-CV death by 24% and the trend towards lowering CV mortality was nearly significant,” concluded Danchin. “When we extended our analysis to 2011 we found that tea continued to reduce overall mortality during the 6 year period. Interestingly, most of the effect of tea on non-CV mortality was found in current or ex-smokers, while tea had a neutral effect in non-smokers.”

He added: “Tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. Tea drinkers also have healthier lifestyles so does tea drinking reflect a particular person profile or is it tea, per se, that improves outcomes — for me that remains an open question. Pending the answer to that question, I think that you could fairly honestly recommend tea drinking rather than coffee drinking and even rather than not drinking anything at all.”

If you’re not sold — and you really should be — then know that tea has a wide array of other benefits. Previous research has found many benefits: The American Journal of Physiology found improved muscle endurance, the BBC reports a reduced risk of heart attack, the Institute of Science in Society has found tea offers protection against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, studies in the National Center for Biotechnology Information have found tea to provide protection against a variety of cancers (e.g. breast, colon, colorectal, esophagus, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, small intestine, stomach, oral cancers and  ovarian), and the Movement Disorders Journal discovered a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease.

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