People say that the first 10 minutes of your morning can predict the outcome of the rest of your day. Whether or not the statement is a scientific fact, a solid morning routine does seem to have an effect on daily productivity. Some people like to set daily goals, tidy up the house, or take some quiet time to enjoy a cup of tea. And if you’re looking for a way to brighten your day and possibly extend your life, two cups of tea per day might just be the secret.
Two Cups of Tea Per Day Keeps the Doctor Away
A group of researchers performed a study in Western Australia testing the effect a simple beverage such as tea might have on the mortality rates of women. The results showed that out of about 1000 women over the age of 75, those who drank two cups of tea per day were found to outlive the others. After further examination researchers found the secret to a long life for these women was something called flavonoids. (1)
What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a natural substance found in high quantities in tea. More specifically, they are found in the plant Camellia sinensis, which is used to make tea. You can also get flavonoids from fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, bark, roots, stems, and wine. Flavonoids are known to influence blood pressure, inflammation, and oxidative damage. Research also shows that flavonoids can potentially combat cancer and cardiovascular disease. That’s a lot for one little substance to do! (1)
Because flavonoids are so beneficial, researchers concluded that they are most likely the reason the women in this study found longer life. As with many studies, it can be difficult to determine if the outcome was influenced by other factors. However, this study showed a definite correlation between drinking two cups of tea per day and a lowered mortality rate. (1, 2)
Tea Types and Benefits
Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, also studied the effect of tea on a person’s health. He says, “Tea is a good source of compounds known as catechins and epicatechins, which are thought to be responsible for tea’s beneficial health effects”. But Dr. Sesso takes care to note that not all teas will carry the same results.
Here are some common types of tea and their flavonoid benefits:
- Green Tea – Green tea seems to have the highest concentration of flavonoids, which makes it the most likely to bring results
- Black Tea – Black tea has slightly fewer amounts of flavonoids but has still shown to produce good results
- Herbal tea – Because herbal tea doesn’t come from the plant Camellia sinensis, any flavonoids it contains are not nearly as concentrated as in black or green tea.
- Tea Extracts or Supplements – Many products will claim to have an easy way to get a concentrated dose of flavonoids, but the effectiveness and safety of these products are extremely limited.
- Tea and Sugar – Many people prefer to sweeten their tea with a bit of sugar. While a small amount of sugar is fine, adding too much to your drink can have a negative effect on your health, and in a sense undo any flavonoid benefits
- Bottled Teas – Bottled teas are equally as beneficial as freshly brewed teas, as long as they are pure and unadulterated. However, many bottled teas contain as much as nine teaspoons of sugar per serving. You might as well be drinking soda at that point! (3, 4, 5)
The Things That Really Count
It’s encouraging to hear that something as simple as drinking two cups of tea per day can have an effect on the length of your life. Especially if brewing tea is already an integral part of your daily routine! But it’s also important to not let that dictate your other lifestyle choices. A dose of flavonoids can only do so much if you spend the rest of your day on the couch eating ice cream and potato chips. Don’t forget the things that really count for a healthy lifestyle such as a balanced diet, physical activity, and strong relationships. Because when it comes right down to it, spending your time on your health and wellbeing, with loved ones, and having fun, is a life well lived.