Two cups of tea a day slash Brits’ chances of dying early, bombshell study finds

The Italians say wine helps them live longer, Japanese say fish and now Brits can say tea is officially the elixir of life after a study found two cups a day can slash chances of an early death.

Non-tea drinkers could now be bounding down on the appropriate supermarket isle after head-turning research found that people who drank two or more cups of tea a day had between a 9% and 13% lower risk of mortality.

That's when compared with those who do not enjoy the drink, according to the study from the US National Institutes of Health.

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The body used data collected from more than half a million men and women aged 40 to 69 from the UK Biobank to assess the connection between tea consumption and mortality.

The study was conducted with a questionnaire answered from 2006 to 2010 and followed up over more than a decade.

Out of the population selected, 85% reported having the hot drink regularly, with 89% of this group saying they had black tea.

The positive result was found to be the same no matter whether the person also drank coffee, added milk or sugar to their tea, enjoyed it at a different temperature, or were able to metabolise caffeine more quickly.

Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, described the research as representing “a substantial advance in the field”.

He added that most studies had been done in Asia, where green tea is the most widely consumed, and the few outside Asia were “small in size and inconclusive in their results”.

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He said: “This article shows that regular consumption of black tea (the most widely consumed tea in Europe) is associated with a modest reduction in total and, especially, cardiovascular disease mortality over 10 years in a middle-aged, mostly white, adult general population.”

However, he admitted that the study did not definitively conclude that tea was the driving factor in lowering mortality.

This is because it did not exclude other unrelated health factors corresponding with consumption of the drink.

The paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also stopped short of recommending that those who do not drink tea should begin doing so.

He said: “Studies should be done with repeated measurements of tea consumption over time and compare the mortality of those who do not consume tea on a sustained basis with that of those who have started to consume tea or have increased their consumption over time, and those who have been drinking tea for years.”

The UK is the fourth highest consumer of tea in the world by capita, behind only Turkey, Ireland and Iran.

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