Want to live to a very old age with a lower risk of death or disability? Then you should probably drink a cup of tea nearly every day—at least if you are Chinese, according to a new study. Previous studies of persons from many countries have shown that drinking tea regularly appears to offer some protection against stroke, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
In a study of 32,606 individuals (13,429 men and 19,177 women) in China aged 65 years or older, the researchers found that men who drank tea nearly every day (five or more times weekly) had a substantially reduced risk of poor overall health than men who seldom drank tea (once a week or less).
For men 65 to 84 years old who drank tea almost daily, the risk of poor overall health was 46 percent less than that of men in the same age group who seldom drank tea. The risk for overall poor health was 32 percent less for men aged 85 years and older. The effect of nearly daily consumption of tea among women resulted in a risk reduction of 33 percent for women aged 65 to 84, and a 15 percent reduction among women aged 85 year or older.
The researchers reported similar age- and sex-related differences for disabilities in activities of daily living, cognitive impairment, and self-reported poor health for overall health. Only in the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease did women who drank tea almost daily show more protection than did men when compared with those of the same sex who seldom drank tea.
The findings were based on analysis of data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey observations for 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2005. The study was funded in part by AHRQ (T32 HS00079).
More details are in "Associations between frequency of tea consumption and health and mortality: Evidence from old Chinese," by Li Qiu, B.S., Jessica Sautter, Ph.D., and Danan Gu, Ph.D., in the November 2012 British Journal of Nutrition 108(9), pp. 1686–1697.