Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — Drinking a cup of warm tea may seem like a way to calm the soul, but a new study has found that it may also be good for your body.
The study, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that drinking two or more cups of black tea per day was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes.
The study examined data from the UK Biobank, which includes in-depth genetic and health information, on half a million men and women, aged 40 to 69, who participated in a survey between 2006 and 2010.
The database included information that participants reported about their tea drinking habits, such as how often they drink and what they add to their cups, according to the study.
Although some participants did not drink black tea at all, because the data is from the UK, many reported drinking tea regularly, while others reported drinking up to 10 cups a day, said the study’s lead author, Maki Inoue- Choi, an epidemiologist with the National Cancer Institute in the United States.
The biobank followed the participants’ status about 10 years after the original questionnaire, and the researchers found that people who drank two or more cups of tea per day during this period were less likely to die from causes such as cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke, according to the study.
The research offers an intriguing insight into tea drinking habits, but more research is needed before diet changes can be recommended, according to Howard Sisso, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an assistant epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“The study authors attempted to control for other dietary factors, but tea drinkers typically differ in other respects, which potentially undermines these findings,” Siso, who was not involved in the study, said in an email.
“We need to do more randomized clinical trials that test drinking tea,” he added.
How about adding milk and sugar?
For many tea drinkers, the process of preparing a cup of tea is crucial. For example, the ideal temperature for tea, adding milk or sugar to it in a certain amount.
And if you can’t imagine drinking tea without additives, don’t worry.
According to the study, there was no significant reduction in health benefits for those who added milk or sugar to tea.
This does not necessarily mean that it is the healthiest way to drink tea.
Inoue Choi explained that health experts strongly encourage limiting sugar and saturated fats, such as those found in milk.
But, should you change your tea drinking habits?
Although it’s hard to say for sure in the research so far, Inui Choi points out some good reasons why black tea is so beneficial.
“There are many possible mechanisms,” she said. “Tea is rich in bioactive compounds…that have the ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn can protect against health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.”
A lot of research has been done on the health benefits of drinking green tea.
Observational studies, such as one in 2013, suggest that drinking green tea can slow the growth of cancerous lesions, while a 2014 study found that green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline.
Both black and green tea are extracted from different forms of the same plant, called Camellia sinensis, but little research so far has looked at the effects of drinking black tea, according to Inoue Choi.
She added that, due to a lack of research, it was not yet time to add black tea to your daily routine.
“Our findings may provide reassurance to people who already drink tea every day, but we do not recommend making decisions about whether people should start drinking tea or change their current consumption,” Inoue-choi explained.
She also emphasized that people should not rely on the results of a single study for such changes, noting that more research is needed to complete the study’s findings.
Siso added: “This study does not prove that drinking tea reduces mortality, but it does suggest that if you currently drink tea – especially black tea, you can continue to do so.”
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