Previous studies have shown that consumption of tea is associated with longer life. Tea is consumed more heavily and more commonly in Asia but a recent study in the UK where the investigators used the UK biobank where they have access to a large quantity of data on sociodemographic, lifestyle and other health information on a larger population. They studied the association between tea consumption and lifespan among approximately 500,000 participants in the United Kingdom . In UK black tea is consumed predominantly. In the average of 11 years of follow up drinking two or more cups of tea daily was associated with significantly lower mortality on all causes compared to non-tea drinkers.
This life expectancy data was compared to non tea drinkers. When the population drank more than two cups a day the results did not improve and also whether milk or sugar were added did not change the results. Coffee also added significant benefits in other studies but in this study consumption of coffee did not alter the outcome of the benefit of tea. This is a large study that showed modestly lower levels of mortality. It is not a huge improvement but certainly a statistically significant improvement. Antioxidants within tea, example flavonoids and polyphenols, are believed to be the reason for the benefit associated with the benefit of tea. This was based on a study recently published by Inoue-Choi and published in a recent issue of Annals of Internal medicine.
Consumption of coffee also is beneficial based on a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and either one coffee or tea are beneficial but there is no study comparing head to head between the two. coffee may have slightly more adverse effects on sleep and reflux disease and consequently consumption of coffee before lunch is better because of these issues. Coffee has a half life of 6 hours and if someone consumes coffee in the evening this may affect their sleep even if they don’t notice it . Late coffee drinkers won’t get a deep sleep. The late coffee drinkers may have more acid reflux episodes at night even if they don’t notice them during their sleep. I suspect the same thing can apply to tea but not to the same extent. As i mentioned there are no head to head comparison studies between coffee and tea but both are good to consume from a long term and short term benefit perspective with the above caveats .
Take home message
Try to get into the habit of drinking tea. It may be difficult at first but with time you can develop the taste for tea. Better late than never. Same thing probably applies to coffee as well.