Is coffee or tea your beverage of choice? News from China, where a lot of people prefer tea, suggests that you might want to sip green tea. Apparently, tea drinkers live longer.
Why Should You Sip Green Tea?
A large epidemiological study called China-PAR (for Prediction for ASCVD Risk in China) included questions on habitual beverage consumption (European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Jan. 8, 2020). [ASCVD stands for AtheroSclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.] More than 100,000 Chinese adults answered the survey questions and were followed up for an average of seven years. During that time, 1,477 people died of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
When the researchers analyzed the data, they found that people who drank green tea at least three times a week were among the least likely to die of heart disease or strokes. Their risk was about 20 percent lower than that of people who never drink tea. The investigators calculated that habitual tea drinkers extended their life expectancy at age 50 by approximately one and a quarter years. The tea drinkers who maintained their habit over a period of many years got even more protection. They lowered their chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke by as much as 56 percent.
Since about half the tea drinkers preferred green tea, and only about 8 percent usually consumed black tea, it wasn’t feasible to make a robust comparison between the two. Consequently, we don’t know if you should sip green tea rather than black tea. However, it is clear that those who sip green tea are doing something right for their health.
Previous Research on How Tea Affects Health:
The investigators suggest that tea protects against stroke in part by lowering blood pressure. Green tea catechins may also help control cholesterol levels (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 2016; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Aug. 2011). A meta-analysis of fourteen randomized controlled trials involving over 1,000 subjects suggested that green tea may indeed lower total cholesterol as well as bad LDL cholesterol. The investigators concluded that green tea beverages and extracts produced beneficial changes in cholesterol levels.
Green Tea Drinkers in Japan:
Previously, a large epidemiological study of more than 40,000 Japanese men found that those who drank at least two cups of green tea daily for ten years had a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to men who drank no tea (Annals of Epidemiology, Oct. 2009). Recent research confirms that Japanese people who sip green tea at least five times a day are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who don’t drink it (European Journal of Epidemiology, Oct. 2019).