Drinking This 3 Times a Week Can Help You Live Longer, Study Finds

Adding this to your routine could seriously improve your cardiovascular health and lengthen your life.

If this year has taught us anything, it's that so many things in life hinge on good health. And while many of the health habits that boost longevity can feel like a chore—long workouts and Spartan diets, to name a few—other health rituals can be an absolute pleasure. According to a January study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, one such habit promises a simple way to live a "longer and healthier life:" habitually drinking tea. Read on to learn tea's surprising benefits, and for more health tips, find out why Going to Bed Past This Exact Time Is Hurting Your Health.

After following a cohort of 100,902 study subjects over the course of roughly seven years, the study found that habitual tea consumption was linked with "more healthy years of life and longer life expectancy," a press release for the study explained. In particular, regular tea consumption—defined as habitually drinking tea three times per week or more—was found to be associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease.

When compared with those who drank tea infrequently or never, habitual tea drinkers had a 20 percent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 22 percent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 15 percent lower risk of death from other causes.

The researchers also analyzed how changes in a person's habits affected outcome by surveying a subset of 14,081 participants twice, at an average of 8.2 years apart. They found that habitual tea drinkers who maintained their tea habit over the course of that time had a "39 percent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 56 percent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 29 percent decreased risk of all-cause death compared to consistent never or non-habitual tea drinkers."

"The protective effects of tea were most pronounced among the consistent habitual tea drinking group," explained senior author Dongfeng Gu, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. "Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term. Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardioprotective effect," he added. Want to learn more on how this relaxing ritual can work wonders for your health? Read on for more fascinating findings from the study, and for more on maintaining good heart health, This Is the Best Thing You Can Do For Your Heart Health Right Now.

Green tea had the best benefits.

green tea

The researchers discovered that in particular, green tea yielded the most robust health benefits. While green tea was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, the team found that black tea had no such associations.

This may be because green tea is rich in polyphenols, which are known to promote good cardiovascular health and mitigate high blood pressure. Black tea has fewer antioxidant benefits because it is fully fermented, the researchers say. And for more health news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Adding milk may lessen health benefits.

Tea and milk

Another reason researchers believe black tea might promote fewer health benefits is because of how it is traditionally served. They noted that previous research has shown that drinking tea with milk, which can be high in saturated fat, may undermine the positive effects of tea on cardiovascular health. And for more heart healthy habits, Two Glasses of This a Day Can Improve Your Heart Health, Study Finds.

Men experienced far more benefits than women.

Bearded man drinking green tea from a mug

When the researchers controlled for gender, they discovered that men seemed to enjoy much more pronounced health benefits of regular tea consumption than women.

"One reason might be that 48 percent of men were habitual tea consumers compared to just 20 percent of women. Secondly, women had much lower incidence of, and mortality from, heart disease and stroke. These differences made it more likely to find statistically significant results among men," explained Xinyan Wang, another researcher from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Habitual tea drinking seems to delay health episodes.

Woman drinking tea with feet up

The researchers observed that subjects from the habitual tea-drinking group who did ultimately experience negative acute health episodes tended to face them later, on average, than the non-habitual tea drinkers. For instance, the team suggested that 50-year-old habitual tea drinkers would develop coronary heart disease or suffer a stroke 1.41 years later than those in the non tea-drinking group. Based on their findings, they also projected that habitual tea drinkers would live 1.26 years longer than the control group. And to find out which habits are hurting your heart health, This Is the Worst Thing You're Doing to Your Heart Right Now.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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