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   Jul 11

Is the elixir of life as simple as two cups of tea? Daily cuppas ‘can dramatically increase longevity in older women’

Forget expensive pills and exotic potions. The elixir of life could be as simple as a cup or two or tea.

Women in their 70s and 80s lived longer if they had the equivalent of two cuppas a day, research has found.

They were 40 per cent less likely to die during the five years studied than other females of a similar age.

Tea, or more specifically, the flavonoids in it, also seemed to protect against the ravages of heart disease and cancer.

Flavonoids are health-boosting plant compounds that are found in chocolate, fruit, red wine and coffee.

However, tea made the biggest contribution to the flavonoid count in the women studied.

The Australian researchers analysed the health records of more than 1,000 women aged 75-plus.

Detailed information about their diet, including the amount of tea and coffee drunk, was used to work out what level of flavonoids they were consuming.

Some 88 per cent of the women were still alive by the end of the study – and those with the most flavonoids in their diet were particularly likely to have survived.

Deaths from heart disease and cancer – the two biggest killers of elderly women – were down, as well as the overall risk of death.

Crucially for those looking for simple tips for a longer, healthier life, the amount of flavonoids that provide protection is achievable.

The Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that required amount of 350mg a day can be found in two cups of tea.

Previous research has credited flavonoids a host of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, cutting the risk of dangerous blood clots and strengthening bones.

Catherine Hood, of the industry-funded Tea Advisory Panel, said: ‘Tea is a major source of flavonoid compounds in the diet.

‘These findings are good news for British tea drinkers, many of whom are the same age as the women in this study.

‘Older women at present drink just over two cups of tea daily on average but one in five don’t drink any tea and could benefit their health by doing so.’ Other recent research found that tea drinkers are less likely to break a hip than people who never touch the stuff found.

Two to three cups a day seems to be particularly beneficial with men and women who drank this amount being 37 per cent less likely to suffer a hip fracture.

The mind may also benefit, with studies showing that a cuppa perks up the brain.

Within just half an hour of drinking a cup of tea, neurological activity increases noticeably.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietician, said: ‘Of course, you don’t need to wait until old age to enjoy the benefits of tea.

‘Studies in younger adults show that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of heart disease because tea flavonoids improve vascular flow.

‘Tea also contains a modest amount of caffeine which has been proven to boost alertness and concentration.

‘New research shows that fluoride and flavonoids in tea are good for dental health as they kill off the bacteria that cause decay and bad breath.’

Source: Daily Mail

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