A study of half a million tea drinkers in the United Kingdom found that high intake of black tea was associated with a small reduction in the risk of death.
The study was led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the United States, and was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and on the website of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, and was reported by the British newspaper, The Guardian.
The study is a large and comprehensive analysis of the potential benefits of drinking black tea, which is the most popular tea in the UK.
Previous studies on tea
Previous studies that found a modest association between increased tea intake and a lower risk of death focused mainly on Asian populations, who usually drink green tea. In contrast, studies of black tea have produced mixed results.
The study included 498,043 men and women between the ages of 40 and 69 who participated in a large cohort study called “UK Biobank”. Participants were followed for 11 years, and death information came from a linked database from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. .
In the new study, researchers found that people who drank two or more cups of tea per day were 9 to 13% less likely to die from any cause than those who didn’t drink tea. Higher tea consumption was also associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke.
Black tea is associated with a reduced risk of death regardless of:
- Preferred tea temperature
- add milk
- add sugar
- Genetic differences affecting the rate at which people metabolize caffeine.
The researchers wrote that the findings suggest that drinking black tea, even at elevated levels, can be part of a healthy diet.
Regular consumption of black tea
Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, described the research as “a significant advance in this field”.
He said most of the studies were conducted in Asia, where green tea is the most widely consumed, and that studies outside the continent were few “small in scale and inconclusive”.
Artalejo also said, “This article shows that regular consumption of black tea (the most widely consumed tea in Europe) is associated with a small reduction in overall cardiovascular disease mortality over a 10-year lifespan.”
He added that the study did not conclusively prove that tea was the cause of the lower mortality rate for tea drinkers, because it cannot be excluded that this is due to other health factors associated with tea consumption.
Black tea benefits
Black tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which undergoes a process called oxidation, turning the leaves from green to dark brown black. Oxidation means the leaves are exposed to moist, oxygen-rich air, according to the WebMD website .
Black tea has many benefits, including:
- Rich in antioxidants
- Promote heart health
- Lowering bad cholesterol
- Improve gut health
- Improve alertness and focus
- May help lower blood pressure
- It may help reduce the risk of stroke
- May lower blood sugar levels
- May help reduce cancer risk