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04 Dec 2023, Edition - 3065, Monday

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Health Matters

Tea May Help You Live Longer, Study Says



Hate it or love it – you can’t ignore it. Indians swear by tea so much so that 2-3 cups are a mandatory part of each day. The much-loved drink was introduced to us by our colonial masters, but we have never let go of it, and it has now been adopted by us into the Indian palate as our own. Tea is a decoction that is effortlessly equal parts relaxing, soothing and fulfilling! Its health benefits and limitations have been a matter of debate for several years now, with claims supposing either side. However a recent analysis published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology says that drinking tea may be associated with a healthier and longer life.

The study included over one lakh participants of the China-PAR project with no history of heart attack, stroke or cancer. Participants were classified into two categories- habitual tea drinkers (three times or more a week), and non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week). The analyses came to the conclusion that the 50-year-old participants of the study who were habitual tea-drinkers would develop coronary heart disease and stroke 1.41 years later than their non-tea drinking counterparts. Moreover, the incidence of heart disease and stroke was 20% lower in people who habitually consumed tea. There was also a 15% decreased risk of all-cause death among habitual tea drinkers.

The first author of the study, Xinyang Wang of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, also confirmed, “Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death. The favorable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers.”

“The protective effects of tea were most pronounced among the consistent habitual tea drinking group. Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term. Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardio protective effect,” added the senior author of the study, Dongfeng Gu.

A detailed analysis revealed that green tea-drinkers may live a longer life than black tea or other varieties of tea. This is due to the fact that green tea is a rich source of polyphenols whereas in black tea these polyphenols get oxidized due to the process of fermentation and thus may lose their anti-oxidizing effects. Moreover, black tea is generally served with milk which may counteract the favorable effects of tea on the cardiovascular function.

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