Drinking tea three times a week could be the key to a longer and healthier life, according to scientists.
Research conducted by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing found that regular tea drinkers (three times weekly or more) would develop coronary heart disease and stroke around 17 months later and live 15 months longer compared to those who never or rarely drank tea.
They had a 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, 22 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke and 15 per cent decrease risk of all-cause death.
This is believed to be down to the polyphenols found in tea – which are linked to protective effects against heart disease and raised blood pressure.
The researchers looked at 100,000 participants who had no history of heart attack, stroke or cancer. They were split into those who were habitual tea drinks (consuming it at least three times a week) and those who were not, drinking it more infrequently than this.
It was discovered those who drank tea habitually experienced more healthy years of life and a longer life expectancy.
Then, the potential influence of changes in tea drinking behaviour were analysed in a subset of around 14,000 participants with assessments at two time points up to 13 and a half years.
Regular tea drinkers who kept up their habit in both surveys were almost 40 per cent less likely to have incident heart disease and stroke, 56 per cent less likely to suffer a fatal heart disease and stroke and had 29 per cent lower risk of all-cause death compared with consistent never or non-habitual tea drinkers.
Researchers found drinking green tea alone could reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease and stroke by by 25 per cent.
Sadly, researchers were not able to prove the same specific link between British favourite, black tea (aka your go-to Tetleys), and the reduction of these diseases.
This was due to the small percentage of participants in the south east Asian study group – just 8% – who drank black tea habitually, compared to almost half (49%) who said they drank green tea regularly.
Lead study author Dr Xinyan Wang, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, said: "Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death. The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers.”
Senior author Dr Dongfeng Gu, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, added: “In our study population, 49 per cent of habitual tea drinkers consumed green tea most frequently, while only eight per cent preferred black tea.
"The small proportion of habitual black tea drinkers might make it more difficult to observe robust associations, but our findings hint at a differential effect between tea types."
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.