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Drinking black tea lowers mortality risk from all causes

People who drink black tea on a frequent basis may lower their risk of mortality by as much as 13 percent, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. The experts found that the reduced mortality risk was greatest among individuals who drank two or more cups of black tea per day.

Previous studies have suggested that both green tea and coffee have similar health benefits. While the exact mechanisms, remain unclear, green tea and coffee seem to reduce mortality by preventing chronic diseases.

“Tea is frequently consumed worldwide, but the association of tea drinking with mortality risk remains inconclusive in populations where black tea is the main type consumed,” wrote the NIH researchers. “In contrast, published studies in populations where black tea drinking is more common are limited with inconsistent findings.”

To investigate, study lead author Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi and colleagues set out to evaluate the associations of tea consumption with all-cause mortality. The team also wanted to examine whether common tea additives (milk and sugar) or genetic variants affect the rate at which people metabolize caffeine.

The study was focused on nearly half a million men and women aged 40 to 69 years who participated in the U.K. Biobank. Among these individuals, 85 percent reported drinking tea on a regular basis, and 89 percent of the frequent tea drinkers reported drinking black tea. 

An analysis of the data revealed that individuals who drank two or more cups of black tea each day had a 9 to 13 percent lower risk of premature death from all causes. These health benefits were found regardless of added sugar and other factors that may influence caffeine metabolism. 

“Higher tea intake was associated with lower mortality risk among those drinking two or more cups per day, regardless of genetic variation in caffeine metabolism,” wrote the researchers. “These findings suggest that tea, even at higher levels of intake, can be part of a healthy diet.”

The research is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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