If you’re a tea lover you’ll know there’s nothing like a hot cuppa at the start of the day, the end of the day and – let’s face it – any time in between. And now you can enjoy your brew even more, with the news that drinking tea could help you live a longer and healthier life.

A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology followed the tea-drinking habits of  more than 100,000 people in China. And they found those who drank tea just three or more times a week (that’s right, not three cups a day but three cups a week) had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and that they lived longer and had more healthy years of life.

One particular type of tea may be better for you than others. According to lead researcher Dr Xinyan Wang of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, the health benefits were seem most strongly in those drinking green tea. The researchers also estimated that the average person aged 50 who drinks three or more cups of tea a week will develop coronary heart disease and stroke 1.41 years later and live 1.26 years longer than those who never touch the stuff. After the study period of just over seven years, the tea drinks were also found to have a 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, 22 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 15 per cent lower risk of all-cause death than the non-tea drinkers.

But it’s not just a case of drinking a few cups of tea and expecting to add a few years to your life. According to the researchers you have to be a regular tea drinker.

“The protective effects of tea were most pronounced among the consistent habitual tea drinking group,” says another of the study’s senior authors, Dr Dongfeng Gu.

“Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term. Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardioprotective effect.”

How can you maximise the health potential of your daily brew? Try drinking green tea without milk, as it may have the strongest health benefits.

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash