The Atmasvasth Guide to Live Long, Healthy
Almost a year and 8 months ago, I wrote about the wonders of coffee and caffeine and how caffeine, apart from spicing up our days, also helps us live long, healthy. Caffeine is the most used, addictive, psychoactive drug in the world, usually consumed as coffee in a large number of different forms, ranging from espressos, to cappuccinos to lattes, to filter coffee, etc.
Since then, there has been some more data, mainly from studies related to the UK Biobank cohort that shows that those who drink moderate amounts of coffee (0.5 to 3 cups per day) have a lower all-cause mortality…basically, they live longer than those who don’t drink coffee at all .
The benefits of coffee are likely due to the presence of polyphenols and lignans and possibly other substances that have yet not been fully, individually studied. It is also possible that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that studying the individual components may not even be worth the effort.
What about tea, then? In many countries such as India and China, tea is more popular than coffee. Does tea drinking carry the same benefits as coffee drinking? Is one better than the other?
The UK Biobank cohort again comes to our rescue. A group of authors headed by Yanchun Chen studied the benefits of coffee and tea separately and together and found that both, separate and combined tea and coffee consumption are associated with reduced all-cause mortality. The tea consumption was in the range of 2-4 cups per day .
Another study looked at almost half a million people in the UK Biobank and studied tea drinking and health outcomes over a median follow-up of 11.2 years. The authors led by Maki Inoue-Choi  found that consumption of more than 2 cups of tea per day is associated with reduced all-cause mortality. It did not matter whether sugar and milk were added or not.
Since, all this data is from people residing in the UK, what about people in India, China and other countries that also drink copious amounts of tea? As usual, there is no good Indian data, but an analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies from China, Japan, Korea and Singapore shows that coffee and green tea are both independently associated with reduced mortality, with a weaker association between black tea and mortality .
So, what does this mean for you and I? Both coffee and tea, individually or together help us live longer, healthy. If you already are a tea or coffee drinker, you don’t need to change anything. If you aren’t, then perhaps drinking a cup or two of tea or coffee or both, during the day may be a good idea.
1. Simon J,et al. Light to moderate coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of death: a UK Biobank study. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2022 May 6;29(6):982-991.
2. Chen Y et al. Consumption of coffee and tea with all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a prospective cohort study. BMC Med. 2022 Nov 18;20(1):449.
3. Inoue-Choi M et al. Tea Consumption and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the UK Biobank. Ann Intern Med. 2023 Feb;176(2):eL220478.
4. Shin S et al. Coffee and tea consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective studies from the Asia Cohort Consortium. Int J Epidemiol. 2022 May 9;51(2):626-640.
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