Swap after-dinner coffee for a healthier cup of tea

A cup of tea after dinner has health benefits.
Photo / Thinkstock
A cup of tea after dinner has health benefits. Photo / Thinkstock

Have a glass of wine with dinner - but afterwards you should swap that coffee for a cup of tea if you want to live longer, health experts have pronounced.

Researchers in France who compared mortality among tea and coffee drinkers found that death rates from non-cardiac causes were 24 per cent lower among regular tea-drinkers than among those who chose coffee.

Separate research, meanwhile, has found that both red and white wines have a protective effect against heart disease among those who take regular exercise.

Until now, studies have suggested some benefits to the heart from red wine, but no long-term trials have been carried out comparing wines of different colours.

Experts said the new Czech study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona, appeared to show "some synergy" between the alcohol in wine and the benefits of regular exercise, which together seemed to strengthen the heart.

The study of tea and coffee drinkers, presented at the same conference, looked at 131,000 people who had health check-ups in Paris over seven years. It found regular tea drinkers had 24 per cent lower mortality from non-cardiac causes than those who did not drink tea often, and slightly lower mortality from other causes.

Researchers said some of the differences were likely to be because tea drinkers were less likely than coffee drinkers to smoke.

Professor Nicolas Danchin, from European Hospital Georges Pompidou, said that based on current evidence, it was not clear if it was the properties of tea itself or the lifestyles of those who drank it that gave them longevity. But he said he would encourage people to choose tea rather than coffee.

"Tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. Tea drinkers also have healthier lifestyles, so does tea drinking reflect a particular person profile or is it tea per se that improves outcomes?

"Pending the answer to that question, I think that you could fairly honestly recommend tea-drinking rather than coffee-drinking - and even rather than not drinking anything at all."

The Czech study on alcohol tracked 146 people with a mild-to-moderate risk of heart disease. Half were instructed to drink red wine (pinot noir) and half to drink white wine (chardonnay pinot) in moderate quantities for a year. Men could have 300ml and women could have 200ml up to five times a week.

Overall, there was no change to levels of "good" cholesterol among drinkers. But "positive and continuous" results were seen in a subgroup of participants who took exercise at least twice a week. The improvements occurred regardless of whether they were drinking red or white wine.

Professor Milos Taborsky, a cardiologist who led the study, said: "We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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