People who drink tea regularly 'may live for an extra year'

Drinking green tea three times a week could make you live longer and cut your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, a study has found.

Antioxidants in the drink could help to protect the heart and keep people healthier for longer.

Researchers studied more than 100,000 people in China and found regular drinkers lived, on average, 1.26 years longer than people who didn't drink tea.

They also tended to develop serious conditions such as heart disease 1.4 years later than the non-drinkers.

No significant benefits were observed for black tea drinkers, with scientists saying green tea was the only kind that had an effect. 

Experts say the study is not strong enough for people to switch to green tea in the hope of better health, and drinking tea would not undo other unhealthy habits.

The study did not look exclusively at green tea but the majority of people in the study drank that and the researchers did not see the same health benefits for people who drank black tea, which is popular in England (stock image)

The study did not look exclusively at green tea but the majority of people in the study drank that and the researchers did not see the same health benefits for people who drank black tea, which is popular in England (stock image)

A study by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing monitored the health of 100,902 people who had never had a cancer, heart attack or stroke.

They tracked their health for around seven years and recorded how often they drank tea.

Regular drinkers were those who consumed tea three or more times or week – any less and people were considered non-drinkers.

The study did not look specifically at green tea, but only eight per cent of people in the experiment drank black tea and that had no significant health benefits, it said.

GREEN TEA 'COULD BOOST MEMORY AND IMPROVE BRAIN HEALTH'

A diet with compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice, a study published in March last year suggested.

Researchers said that, after the diet, mice genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer's had their memory and spatial skills restored and could find their way out of a maze just as well as healthy mice.

The team, from the University of Southern California, noted that it's possible the discoveries made in the rodents may not be able to be replicated in humans. 

However, they add that the findings could lead to plant-based supplements being used in combination with drugs to prevent or slow down dementia symptoms.   

For the study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the team studied two compounds, the first being epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is found in high quantities in green tea.

EGCG is an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from forming in the body, thereby protecting against cell and molecule damage.

Previous studies have shown that EGCG protects newly-developed nerve cells, which helps with cognition and alertness. 

The second compound, ferulic acid (FA), is found in foods such as carrots, oats and tomatoes.  

FA is an antioxidant that is best-known for its benefits when it comes to skin, such as treating sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. 

The team split the mice with Alzheimer's into four groups and added the same number of healthy mice to each group.

They were given one of four

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