Love your black tea? We have good news for you

woman holding cup of black tea

Are you a tea drinker? More specifically, a black tea drinker? Then the news is good. A newly published study suggests that a couple of cups of black tea a day lowers your mortality risk.

Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the prospective study involved nearly half a million tea drinkers in the UK, and concluded that a higher tea intake was associated with a modestly lowered risk of death.

The study sample comprised 498,043 men and women aged 40 to 69, with all participants receiving physical examinations and providing blood, urine and saliva samples when they enrolled in the study from 2006 to 2010.

Read: Green tea helps serious gut health syndrome, study finds

As part of the process, the participants filled out a baseline questionnaire regarding their tea drinking habits. They recorded how many cups of tea they drank each day on average, and were even asked to declare if they drank their tea very hot, hot, or warm.

The data revealed that 85 per cent of participants reported drinking tea, with 89 per cent of those drinking black tea. The majority who drank tea had between two and five cups per day, although 19 per cent drank more than six cups daily.

Following up the cohort just over a decade later (median 11.2 years), the researchers found that people who consumed two or more cups of tea per day had a nine to 13 per cent lower risk of death from any cause than people who did not drink tea.

Read: Seven wellness benefits of caffeine

Higher tea consumption was also associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease and stroke. And for those worried about the temperature of the tea they drink, the good news is that the association was seen regardless of preferred tea temperature.

What about milk and sugar?

More good news for those who like their tea sweet and/or milky. The data shows that the addition of milk or sugar did not change the lowered risk rate, nor did genetic variations that affect the rate at which people metabolise caffeine.

While the cohort study also looked at cancer and respiratory disease death, the researchers did not find any association – positive or negative – between their incidence and tea drinking.

How about green tea?

Green tea might well be just as good, but the vast majority of the UK cohort drank black tea, so these results are more skewed towards black tea drinkers. However, previous studies have indeed found a modest association between higher tea intake and lower risk of death mainly focused on Asian populations, who more commonly drink green tea.

Read: Could bananas help women with high blood pressure?

The two teas are actually derived from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. The difference is in how they are processed after picking. Both are picked, wilted and rolled before drying, but black tea is then oxidised through exposure to the air.

So, if you’re partial to a couple of cups of tea a day – even three – chances are it’s doing you good, and is likely to give you more time on earth to indulge in the finer things in life – like another cup of tea!

Are you a tea drinker? Do you find it helps you get through your day? Why not share your experience and thoughts in the comments section below?

Written by Andrew Gigacz

Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.

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