Tea Time: New Study Suggest Tea Drinkers Live Longer, Reduced Risk for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

A research group from China is reporting data suggesting that habitual tea drinkers (3 or more times per week) tend to live longer and healthier lives, with reduced risk for  atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, included more than 100,000 participants from the Chinese adults from the project of Prediction for ASCVD Risk in China (China-PAR) project with no history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. The participants (or their proxies) were evaluated with questionnaires, and the authors used hospital records and/or death certificates and employed Cox proportional hazard regression models to calculate hazard ratios (95% confidence interval for all comparisons. The authors followed-up for a mean of 7.3 years.

There were 3,683 ASCVD events, 1,477 ASCVD deaths, and 5,479 all-cause deaths, according to the researchers. When compared to non-habitual tea drinkers, or those who never drink tea, habitual drinkers had a hazard ratio of 0.80 (0.75 to 0.87) for ASCVD incidence, 0.78 (0.69 to 0.88) for ASCSVD mortality, and 0.85 (0.79 to 0.90) for all-cause mortality, respectively. In addition, habitual drinkers were observed to have an additional 1.41 years free of ASCVD and an additional 1.26 years added to life expectancy (age index, 50 years). The study reported that the observed inverse associations were strong among those who kept up the habit during study follow-up.

One important caveat: a subanalysis by tea type revealed that it is actually green tea, and not black tea, in which the associations and reductions in risk for incident heart disease, were observed.

“In our study population, 49% of habitual tea drinkers consumed green tea most frequently, while only 8% preferred black tea,” Dr. Dongfeng Gu, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, a senior author on the study, said in a press release. “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 overall results were favorable.

“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” lead author Dr. Xinyan Wang, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, said in a press release.