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NCI study of tea drinkers in the UK suggests health benefits from black tea

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Black tea can be part of a healthy diet.

Credit: “Black tea and teapot” by eltpics. CC BY-NC 2.0.

What

A prospective study of half a million tea drinkers in the United Kingdom has shown that higher tea intake was associated with a modestly lower risk of death. The study, led by researchers at NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is a large and comprehensive analysis of the potential mortality benefits of drinking black tea, which is the most common type of tea consumed in the U.K.

Past studies finding a modest association between higher tea intake and lower risk of death have mainly focused on Asian populations, who commonly drink green tea. Studies on black tea have yielded mixed results. 

In the new study, the researchers found that people who consumed two or more cups of tea per day had a 9% to 13% lower risk of death from any cause than people who did not drink tea. Higher tea consumption was also associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke. The association was seen regardless of preferred tea temperature, the addition of milk or sugar, and genetic variations affecting the rate at which people metabolize caffeine. 

The findings, which appear Aug. 30, 2022, in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that black tea, even at higher levels of intake, can be part of a healthy diet, the researchers wrote.

The study involved 498,043 men and women between ages 40 and 69 who participated in a large cohort study called UK Biobank. The participants were followed for about 11 years, and death information came from a linked database from the UK National Health Service.

Who

Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI

The Study

“Tea Consumption and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the UK Biobank: A Prospective Cohort Study” appears Aug. 30 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

About the National Cancer Institute (NCI): NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s efforts to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of people with cancer. NCI supports a wide range of cancer research and training extramurally through grants and contracts. NCI’s intramural research program conducts innovative, transdisciplinary basic, translational, clinical, and epidemiological research on the causes of cancer, avenues for prevention, risk prediction, early detection, and treatment, including research at the NIH Clinical Center—the world’s largest research hospital. Learn more about NCI’s intramural research from the Center for Cancer Research and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI website at cancer.gov or call NCI’s contact center at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

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Reference
  1. Inoue-Choi M, Ramirez Y, Cornelis MC, et al. Tea Consumption and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the UK Biobank: A Prospective Cohort Study. Ann. Intern. Med. August 30, 2022. DOI: 10.7326/M22-0041

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