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This Tea Habit May Help You Live Longer, New Study Suggests

Not only can the hot beverage support longevity, but it may also lower your risk of diseases.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

If you like to have a cup of tea in the morning as well as one each evening, then you might already be enjoying the benefits of this healthy beverage. That's because a new study has found that drinking just two or more cups of black tea a day can help you live longer.

In the study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers used information from the U.K. Biobank of 498,043 adults who were between the ages of 40 and 69. Along with having blood, urine, and saliva, participants also had physical examinations done and filled out questionnaires regarding diet and lifestyle habits as well as the amount of tea they consumed. While 85% of those involved said they were tea drinkers, 89% of those drank black tea with the majority drinking two to five cups each day.

While the original information was collected from 2006 to 2010, a follow-up was done after a median of 11.2 years. At that time, researchers found that 29,783 of the participants had died. They also found that those who had been drinking more than two cups of black tea a day experienced a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke with the risk of all-cause mortality dropping by around 12% when they were drinking three cups of black tea every day. Notably, adding milk and sugar didn't affect the benefits of black tea.

black tea

However, not all variables had been accounted for—such as how much each cup of tea contained, how strong it was, or how long it had been steeped—and Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi, corresponding author, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, explained that while "this study showed an association," the "findings need to be replicated in other studies […] and extended to other diverse populations as well."

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Despite the fact that more research is needed, Dana Ellis Hunnes Ph.D., MPH, RD, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, and author of Recipe for Survival, tells Eat This, Not That! when it comes to the benefits of black tea, numerous studies have been "pointing towards inflammation as a primary factor that may be responsible for or increases the risk for incident (first occurrence) heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and/or other chronic conditions."

"Inflammation is affected significantly by what we eat, what we drink, and whatever else we ingest, which is why so many conditions are now considered, 'nutrition-related chronic disease,'" Hunnes explains. Adding that drinking beverages "with a lot of healthful phytonutrients (healthy plant chemicals/nutrients) has been shown to abate some of this risk," she notes that "teas are known to be full of healthful antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids (catechins)." Hunnes also says that "it is likely that what this study was seeing" is "related to the effect of these phytonutrients/compounds in tea that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and may therefore lower the risk of all-cause mortality."

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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