Green tea drinkers live longer: a daily cup seems to protect against disease

A daily cup of green tea lowers the risk of heart disease and premature death, according to research published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

The study, carried out by Japan’s National Cancer Centre, found that the more green tea a person drinks, the less likely they are to die from heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases.

The study, which looked at the drinking habits of 90,916 subjects aged between 40 and 69 years old, concluded that women who drink one cup a day reduce their risk of an early death by ten per cent, and that this increases to 17 per cent if they drink more than five cups a day. A similar (though reduced) trend was observed in men.

The researchers also found a reduced risk of cerebrovascular disease (which affects blood supply to the brain) associated with green tea consumption.

The study suggests that the consumption of green tea may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and three of the leading causes of death in developed countries.

Expert verdict
There is nothing particularly new about the potential heart benefits of antioxidants, which green tea contains high levels of. This study — although not breaking new ground — essentially confirms that green tea appears to have a cardioprotective effect when taken on a regular basis and as such can be commended as part of a healthy diet. The large numbers of people involved in the study (over 90,000), the length of time following them up (18 years) and the study design does mean that it can be viewed as a legitimate study worthy of consideration.
Research score: 3/5