Drinking Tea May Keep Your Body Young
Chinese researchers recently found that the cells of regular tea drinkers may actually have a younger biological age than non tea drinkers. The study was published in the August, 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.
University of Hong Kong researchers used food frequency questionnaires to measure the dietary habits and tea consumption of 976 Chinese men and 1,030 Chinese women aged over 65.
They found that the cells of participants who drank three or more cups of tea a day (at least 750 ml) had significantly longer telemores compared to people who drank the least tea (70 ml or less.)
Telemores are the DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age. Think of them as the tips on the end of shoelaces that keep them from unraveling. When the telemore is totally consumed, the cell is destroyed.
According to Ruth Chan, the lead author of the study, the difference in telemore length between tea drinkers and non tea drinkers corresponds to approximately five years of life.
This study follows other findings earlier this year from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which found that regular multivitamin users also have longer telemores.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of tea and multivitamins are thought to play a large role in these positive results, as they protect telemores from oxidative stress. The participants in the study drank mostly green tea, which has been shown to have some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any type of tea.
Previous studies have linked the various health properties of tea, which include heart health, digestion and a decreased risk of neurodegenerative disease, to naturally occurring antioxidants in tea leaves.