Green Tea and Longevity
Secret to Living Longer?

Two large scale green tea and longevity studies found that tea drinkers are less likely to die from any cause.



Green Tea and Mortality Study #1:
Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort Study

The Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort Study is one of the largest population study ever conducted - 40,530 Japanese adults were questionaired for 11 years.

Those who drink 5 or more cups of green tea a day are 16% less likely to die from any cause than those who drink less than one cup a day. They are also 26% less likely to die from heart disease.

Interestingly, the scientists also discovered that tea drinking is not associated with death from cancer. Furthermore, oolong tea or black tea is not linked to lower mortality.

For any population study, researchers have to allow for confounding factors. That is, those who drink green tea are more likely to eat healthy and exercise regularly, and so the health benefit observed may not be due to green tea.

This study was conducted in the Northeastern part of Japan, where green tea is the most common beverage. It is unlikely that those who choose to drink green tea do so for health reasons.

"The most important finding is that green tea may prolong people's lives through reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease”, said Dr Shinichi Kuriyama, who led the research.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2006.

Green Tea and Mortality Study #2:
Prospective Shizuoka Elderly Cohort

Another large study, the scientists from Okayama University of Japan analyzed 12,251 participants, tracking them for an average of 5 years.

After comparing green tea intake with health in the individuals, the researchers found a clear pattern – the more green tea consumed, the lower risk of death from heart disease.

They found that those drinking seven cups of green tea daily were 75% less likely to die from heart disease.

Green tea drinkers were also 31% less likely to die from colorectal cancer.

Overall, green tea drinkers were 55% less likely to die from any causes in any given year.

References

Shinichi Kuriyama, Taichi Shimazu, Kaori Ohmori, Nobutaka Kikuchi, Naoki Nakaya, Yoshikazu Nishino, Yoshitaka Tsubono, Ichiro Tsuji (2006). Green Tea Consumption and Mortality Due to Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Causes in Japan. JAMA. 2006;296:1255-1265.

Suzuki E, Yorifuji T, Takao S, Komatsu H, Sugiyama M, Ohta T, Ishikawa-Takata K, Doi H (2009). Green Tea Consumption and Mortality among Japanese Elderly People: The Prospective Shizuoka Elderly Cohort. Annals of Epidemiology, 2009; 19(10): 732-739.

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