Health experts are spilling the tea on an anti-aging secret.
Drinking three cups of tea a day could extend your life, according to a study from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China published in The Lancet Regional Health — Western Pacific.
Researchers surveyed 5,998 British people aged 37 to 73 in addition to 7,931 people in China between the ages of 30 and 79 regarding their tea-drinking habits.
They asked whether they drank black, green, yellow or a traditional Chinese oolong tea, as well as how many cups of it they drank daily.
They also calculated each participant’s biological age by compiling their body fat percentage, cholesterol and blood pressure. However, the study was merely “observational,” so researchers couldn’t prove if drinking tea slowed biological aging.
Nonetheless, the consistent tea drinkers showed signs of slower aging. Most of those people were male, also ate a healthier diet, consumed alcohol and were less likely to experience anxiety and insomnia.
“The exposure-response relationship suggested that consuming around three cups of tea or six to eight grams of tea leaves per day may offer the most evident anti-aging benefits,” said the researchers.
“Moderate tea consumption exhibited the strongest anti-aging benefits among consistent tea drinkers,” they concluded.
Participants who stopped drinking tea appeared to show an increase in aging, according to the study.
Researchers believe that polyphenols, a bioactive substance in tea “modulate gut bacteria,” might play a role in regulating the immune system, metabolism and cognitive function.
They also noted that flavonoids — “a kind of polyphenol that is rich in tea” — can extend life expectancy in worms, fleas and mice.
“Studies are accumulating that tea consumption may protect against age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, dementia and some types of cancer, and that tea consumption was associated with lower mortality risk,” they said.
Given the evidence, they said it was “plausible” that tea consumption could delay the biological aging process in humans.
Scientists didn’t study whether one specific type of tea was better with anti-aging than another, though they found no “substantial differences” between the tea drinkers in China versus the UK.
The temperature of the tea also made no difference, and they noted they didn’t ask people the size of the teacups they consumed.