New research has shown that people who drink two to four cups of tea and less than one to two cups of coffee on a daily basis reduce their mortality risk by 22% compared to those who do not drink tea or coffee.
The team behind the research put forward theories as to why the combination of tea and coffee has this effect, suggesting that the overlapping biological compounds of the two drinks can lower things like blood pressure and inflammation, reducing the development of some serious diseases.
Researchers analysed data from nearly half a million people in the UK aged from 37 and 73 to investigate the association between mortality and individual and combined consumption of tea and coffee.
Participants were asked how much tea and coffee they drank on a daily basis, while another questionnaire established sociodemographic data including ethnicity and education, and behavioural information including alcohol consumption, exercise and diet.
Medical records and questionnaires were also used to gather information on chronic diseases.
The research team found that drinking two to four cups of tea and less than one to two cups of coffee each day was linked to a lower mortality risk, while the mortality risk from cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive diseases showed a similar inverse association.
In terms of drinking only tea or coffee, the findings showed that the lowest mortality risk was linked to the consumption of either three cups of tea or one cup of coffee on a daily basis.
Previous studies of the tea/coffee combination have found a reduced risk of dementia and stroke. Other research has found additive effects of type 2 diabetes with the combination of green tea and coffee consumption. The limitations of these studies, however, is that the sample sizes were much smaller or the results cannot be generalised to the wider population.
Read the full study in the journal, BMC Medicine.