Tea is part of a healthy lifestyle, and people who drink it seem to be slightly more likely to live longer than those who don’t. This follows from an extensive study by American scientists, which was reported by the AP agency.
Tea contains beneficial substances known to reduce inflammation in the body. Earlier studies conducted in China and Japan, where green tea is popular, suggested its health benefits. The new research also expands knowledge about black tea, which is popular in Britain, for example.
Researchers from the US National Cancer Institute asked about the tea habits of almost half a million UK adults and then followed them for up to 14 years. They took into account risk factors such as health status, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, age, race and gender.
Higher tea consumption was associated with a modest benefit, according to the study authors. People who drink two or more cups a day have a nine to 13 percent lower risk of dying from any cause compared to non-tea drinkers. The temperature of the tea, the addition of milk or sugar did not change the results.
The study, published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the link also held true for heart disease deaths, but no clear trend was found for cancer deaths. The researchers weren’t sure why this was the case, but it’s possible that cancer deaths weren’t enough to show an effect, the study lead said.
A study like this, based on observing people’s habits and health, cannot prove cause and effect.
“Observational studies like this always beg the question: Is there something else about people who drink tea that makes them healthier?” said Marion Nestle, a professor of food studies at New York University. She added, however, that data from this type of study should be interpreted with caution.
Even according to the authors of the study, their research does not provide enough evidence for people to change their tea habits. According to them, even one cup a day is enough.