Study: Drinking black tea helps increase longevity By Zoey Sky for Super Foods
A warm cup of tea is perfect for a cold night. According to a study, drinking at least two cups of black tea daily can also help you live longer.
Details of the study were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Beneficial compounds in black tea
For the study, researchers worked with almost 500,000 men and women who took part in the U.K. Biobank. The participants were 40 to 69 years old, and 89 percent of them reported drinking black tea.
The researchers reported that compared with those who didn’t drink tea, the volunteers who drank two or more cups a day lowered their risk of dying by as much as nine to 13 percent. It also made no difference if they added milk and sugar to their tea or if they also drank coffee.
Maki Inoue-Choi, the study’s lead researcher, said that while their findings may offer reassurance to tea drinkers, they do not indicate that people should force themselves to drink tea or increase their tea consumption for health benefits.
While the study can’t prove that tea alone was responsible for the longevity benefits observed, tea is still a healthy drink that contains beneficial compounds that can reduce inflammation. These include polyphenols and flavonoids, particularly catechins, all of which are potent antioxidants that help protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.
“If you drink one cup per day already, I think that is good,” concluded Inoue-Choi. (Related: Study: Consuming apples, oranges and strawberries can help people with Parkinson’s disease live longer.)
Drinking tea helps reduce risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
The researchers also reported that drinking tea reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, Inoue-Choi said it didn’t reduce the risk of death from cancer or respiratory disease.
Lauri Wright, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, said the study is really good confirmation that tea can be a part of a good diet, a healthy diet. Tea has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help offset inflammation linked to chronic disease.
Wright, who wasn’t part of the study, also said that while tea by itself can’t counteract the effects of an unhealthy diet, drinking black tea can help boost the health benefits of a balanced diet.
“It really is more of the whole diet that tea is a part of in helping decrease inflammation,” clarified Wright.
Dr. Guy Mintz, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., referenced a recent study in China that also found benefits of tea. However, the researchers investigated the effects of green tea, not black tea.
Mintz advised that tea alone is not a substitute for keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol low. “Tea has beneficial cardiovascular and vascular benefits as an adjunct to medical recommendations,” concluded Mintz.
Science-backed health benefits of black tea
Did you know that aside from water, black tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world?
Black tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and is often blended with other plants to produce different flavors, like chai or Earl Grey tea.
Black tea has antioxidant properties
Black tea offers many health benefits because it contains antioxidants and compounds that may help reduce inflammation. Consuming antioxidants can help remove harmful free radicals and decrease cell damage in the body. In turn, this may help decrease the risk of chronic disease.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant found in certain foods and beverages, such as black tea. Groups of polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins, are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea and may help boost your overall well-being.
In a study, researchers analyzed the role of oolong tea catechins on body weight and found that consuming catechins from tea daily could help decrease body fat.
Black tea helps boost heart health
Black tea contains flavonoids, another group of antioxidants that benefit your heart health. These compounds can be found in tea and red wine and foods like fruits, vegetables and dark chocolate.
Consuming flavonoids regularly may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels and obesity.
One large prospective study showed that people who drank tea daily had an eight percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 10 percent reduced risk of major cardiac events, like heart attack, compared to those who had not drunk tea in 12 months.
Drink at least one cup of black tea to incorporate antioxidants into your diet and increase your longevity.