It is a welcome piece of research for those who regard having a cup of tea as one of life’s everyday pleasures.
A study has suggested that having a brew could be associated with a lower risk of mortality. When compared with those who do not have tea, people who consumed two or more cups each day had between a 9% and 13% lower risk of mortality, researchers said.
The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggested the result was the same regardless of whether the person added milk or sugar to their tea, or what their preferred temperature was.
The results were also the same regardless of genetic variants affecting the rate at which people metabolise caffeine.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health used data from the UK Biobank, in which 85% of the half a million men and women, aged 40 to 69, reported that they regularly drank tea. Of those, 89% said they drank the black variety.
The study was conducted with a questionnaire answered from 2006 to 2010 and followed up over more than a decade.
Fernando Rodriguez Artalejo, a 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 said most studies had been done in Asia, where green tea is the most widely consumed, and that the few outside the continent were “small in size and inconclusive in their results”.
Artalejo 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.”
He added the study did not definitively establish that tea was the cause of the lower mortality of tea drinkers, because it could not exclude that this was down to other health factors associated with tea consumption.
In November the Guardian reported that drinking coffee or tea may be linked with a lower risk of stroke and dementia, according to the largest study of its kind.
Researchers at Tianjin Medical University in China found that people who consumed two to three cups of coffee or three to five cups of tea a day, or a combination of four to six cups of both drinks, had the lowest risk of stroke or dementia.
Those who drank two to three cups of coffee and two to three cups of tea daily had a 32% lower risk of stroke.