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BETHESDA, Md. — Drinking tea reduces the risk of dying young, according to a new study. Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi and a team from the U.S. National Cancer Institute report that drinking two or more cups of black tea a day is better for you than just having one cup. People who drink two or more cups were found to have a nine to 13-percent lower risk of an early death, compared with non-tea drinkers.

The link appeared regardless of whether participants also drank coffee, added milk or sugar to their tea, drank their tea at different temperatures, or had differences in the genes that process caffeine. For the study, American researchers used data on the tea-drinking habits of half a million British adults.

Information about how many brews they drank each day is stored in the UK Biobank, a database containing the health information on participants who completed questionnaires when they enrolled in the project between 2006 and 2010.

Out of this study group, 85 percent regularly drank tea. Of those, 89 percent reported drinking black tea.

“Higher tea intake was associated with lower mortality risk among those drinking 2 or more cups per day, regardless of genetic variation in caffeine metabolism. These findings suggest that tea, even at higher levels of intake, can be part of a healthy diet,” the study authors write in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

South West News Service writer Gwyn Wright contributed to this report.

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