Trying to decide between tea and coffee? A recent study presented at the ESC Congress weighs in favor of tea in the coffee vs tea debate. French scientists determined that tea consumption can cut your risk of non-cardiovascular mortality by as much as 24%!
The Antidote Is in the Tea
Researchers analyzed data procured from 131,401 people between 18 and 95 years old who underwent a physical exam at Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center over January 2001-December 2008. Using an average of a 3.5 years followup, they determined that overall tea drinkers fared better, especially in terms of non-cardiovascular mortality, than did coffee drinkers. Over the span of the seven-year study there were 95 cardiovascular-related deaths and 632 non-cardiovascular deaths. Coffee and tea consumption was examined based on a self-administered questionnaire.
Results showed that people who drank coffee were much more likely to smoke than were people who drank tea. The more cups of coffee you drink, the more likely you are to light up.
- Non-coffee drinkers: 17% smoked
- 1-4 cups of coffee/day drinkers: 31% smoked
- 4+ cups of coffee/day drinkers: 57% smoked
The relationship between drinking and smoking was reversed in tea drinkers. The more cups of tea you drink, the less likely you are to light up.
- Non-tea drinkers: 34% smoked
- 1-4 cups of tea/day drinkers: 24% smoked
- 4+ cups of tea/day drinkers: 29% smoked
This inverse relationship also extended to activity levels: the more tea you drink, the more physically active you tend to be.
Lead researcher Professor Nicolas Danchi summarized these results, stating: “Overall we tend to have a higher risk profile for coffee drinkers and a lower risk profile for tea drinkers. We also found big differences with gender. Men tend to drink coffee much more than women, while women tend to drink more tea than men.”
In terms of the ability of coffee and tea to slash cardiovascular mortality risk, once results were modified to account for smoking, researchers conceded that the higher risk was likely due to the smoking than to the consumption of coffee. Drinking coffee puts you at risk because it increases the likelihood that you are a smoker.
When results were adjusted for age, gender, and smoking, tea drinking didn’t significantly trend toward a reduced risk for cardiovascular mortality, but did show an influential effect on lowering your risk for non-cardiovascular death.
Danchin explains, “Tea drinking lowered the risk of non-CV death by 24% and the trend towards lowering CV mortality was nearly significant. When we extended our analysis to 2011 we found that tea continued to reduce overall mortality during the six-year period. Interestingly, most of the effect of tea on non-CV mortality was found in current or ex-smokers, while tea had a neutral effect in non-smokers.”
Why is tea the winner in the coffee vs tea debate? Researchers theorize tea is more effective in lowering risk due to its high antioxidant profile and the tendency of tea drinkers to lead more active, healthy lifestyles.