• A new study suggests that drinking black tea at least twice a day lowers the risk of death by up to 13%.
  • Higher tea consumption also reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Preparing the tea with milk or sugar made no notable differences in mortality rate.

Consuming tea is associated with a lower risk of death in UK citizens, according to a study by American National Cancer Institute researchers.

Around half a million participants, aged 40 to 69, took part in the initial questionnaire-based investigation that started in 2006 and ended in 2010. The follow-up 11 years later used death information from the UK National Health Service alongside the original data in the UK Biobank.

While previous research into tea intake and mortality benefits has focused on Asian populations – who predominantly drink green tea – this is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies exploring black tea and mortality.

85% of the men and women who took part were tea drinkers, with 89% of them reportedly drinking black tea.

Compared to those who reported not drinking tea, the participants who consumed at least two or more cups a day had a 9 to 13% lower mortality risk. Higher consumption was also associated with a reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and stroke.

How the tea was prepared, such as with milk or sugar, and its preferred drinking temperature showed little difference in the results, as did the rate at which the individual metabolised caffeine.

Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, said: “This article shows that regular consumption of black tea 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.

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.”

Previous research has also shown that drinking black tea could reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to 60% while significantly lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

This study was originally published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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