If you choose tea over a cup of joe for your morning or afternoon pick-me-up, continue doing so. Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that the cells of regular tea drinkers have longer telomeres than their non-tea-drinking counterparts … thus making them biologically younger.
Telomeres determine the aging and life span of cells. Each one can divide only so many times, and it’s the telomeres job to ensure that the cell’s chromosomes don’t mutate or fuse with others. When a cell replicates, the telomeres shorten. Science suggests that these replicating-mechanism regulators determine your biological age and that they’re susceptible to damage from oxidative stress.
This is where the tea comes in. After measuring the telomeres of 2,006 Chinese men and women older than 65, researchers concluded that the antioxidative properties of tea — black and green — and their constituent nutrients protect the telomeres from damage that occurs during the normal aging process, specifically the oxidative stress that can occur from sun or pollution exposure. They found that the telomeres of people who drank an average of three cups of tea per day were longer than those who drank an average of one-fourth of a cup a day. The difference corresponds to approximately an additional five years of life, wrote researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Although not a part of this research study, it stands to reason that supplementing with green-tea extract is a good way to enjoy some of the health benefits of green tea, too — it’s a great option if you’re not a big tea drinker.