It might not feel like it after cup number five on a dismal Monday afternoon, but it turns out that tea might be crucial to living a long, healthy life.
That’s according to new research by the aptly named Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), based on more than 40 studies undertaken on the apparently manifold benefits of being a regular drinker of the nations favorite hot pick-me-up.
First of all, it’ll do wonders for your heart. It’s suggested that four to five cups of black or green tea a day improves cardiovascular function, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Not a bad tip for a country where cardiovascular disease kills 150,000 people a year, which works out as 26% of all deaths.
And that’s not the whole story.
Both black and green tea significantly reduce levels of the LDL cholesterol associated with cardiovascular risk, with those at highest risk seeing the greatest reduction.
One12-week study concluded that three cups of black tea lowered levels of dangerous triglycerides by 35.8%, and the ratio of unhealthy LDL cholesterol to protective HDL cholesterol improved by 16.6%. Green tea appears to have the most potent cholesterol-lowering power, delivering significant reductions in both LDL and total cholesterol levels.
It’s also a boon for that pesky, YouTube blasted concentration span that keeps getting you into so much workplace trouble, with several of the studies showing that regular tea drinkers experience increased cognitive function and less of a pronounced decline in old age.
One Dutch study from 2011 found that black tea drinkers had significantly enhanced accuracy in attention tests, and higher self-reported alertness in comparison to those that were given a placebo beverage.
The authors concluded: ‘Being the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water, tea is a relevant contributor to our daily cognitive functioning’.
That’s not to mention it’s apparent benefits in keeping a healthier mouth- with tea acting as a natural source of fluoride, perfect for keeping teeth solid and breath fresh.
Who’d have thought a casual, unthinking cuppa could have these many pluses?
It’s not just the result of one flimsy report, says TAP’s Dr Chris Etheridge, a co-author of the review.
‘There has been a large body of anecdotal and observational evidence suggesting tea protects against heart disease, but our review of the latest studies and trials confirms there is a clear benefit’.