Tea and Aging?

tea024Tea is one of my favorite vices.  My husband Jeffrey continually teases me about my need and desire to drink tea, try different types of tea, visit tea houses all over the world.  I don’t drink or smoke so this is the vice I have – besides a little dark chocolate every day.

To my surprise this week I learned my “vice” is actually beneficial and can lengthen my life.  The study did not say I had to eat better, exercise more, or cut something out of my life – all is stated was that I had to drink tea.  The study was not based on 5, 25, or 100 people but 2000 people.  Here are the findings with a little explanation on what telomeres are:

In 2008, we stared hearing about the connection between stress and telomeres –  DNA complexes on the ends of chromosomes.  Researcher Elizabeth Blackburn compares telomeres to the tips at the ends of new shoelaces which prevent unraveling.

Research to date has focused on how stress shortens the length of telomeres and increases aging.   Researchers this week from the University of Hong Kong published a study in the British Journal of Nutrition that looked at the length of telomeres in people drinking tea.

Those that drank an average of 3 cups of tea per day had telomeres that were longer than those that drank an average of a quarter of a cup of tea per day.  The difference in telomere length corresponded to “approximately a difference of 5 years of life” wrote Ruth Chan, who led the research study.  The subjects drank both black and green tea.

The study included 2000 Chinese men and women over 65 years of age.  The authors concluded that “the antioxidant properties of tea and its constituent nutrients protect telomeres from oxidative damage in the normal aging process.”

Take home message?  Drink a few cups of black or green tea per day – I’d say that is something easy to add to your day that can lengthen your life and provide some comfort as well.  So my vice stands.  And, if anyone has any advice on where to buy or drink the best tea, I’m always opening to new places.