Drinking tea could help you live longer

Do you reach for the kettle when you crawl out of bed, have a cup of tea mid-morning, after every meal, and about 800 other times a day? Do you hate wandering too far out of range of people who know how to make a good PG Tips? (And if not, are you sure you’re really British?)

OK, I might be exaggerating our national love of the leaf, but only a little. So it’s good to read that tea drinking is good for you, or at least better than coffee. A study in France (WTF) by Professor Nicolas Danchin looked at 131,401 people’s consumption habits. They’d all been assessed as at low risk of heart disease, and drank between zero and four (or more) cups of their favourite beverage a day. When researchers checked in with them after three and a half years, they found that 727 people had died – 95 of them from heart disease.

Coffee drinkers had a higher risk of cardiovascular problems (perhaps because they also tended to smoke more and exercise less). But according to the study, which was presented at ESC Congress yesterday, tea reduces the chance of dying by 24%. This isn’t specifically related to reducing the risk of heart disease, as that effect was negligible, but tea drinkers were less likely to die of other causes.

Of course, correlation doesn’t equal causation and it may just be that tea drinkers tend towards healthier habits, including choosing tea because it’s less of a stimulant than coffee. But it’s probably best that you switch on the kettle and put your feet up ASAP all the same.

Image via nessguide’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley