BRITS rejoice. New research shows drinking tea reduces the risk of dying early by a quarter.

The study shows that the risk of dying from causes unrelated to the heart by falls 24% in tea-lovers compared to those who do partake.

The benefits of tea, according to scientists at the European Society for Cardiology meeting in Barcelona, are due to its flavonoid and antioxidant content.

Lead researcher Prof Nicolas Danchin said: “If you have to choose between tea or coffee it’s probably better to drink tea.”

The study monitored 131,401 people aged 18 to 95, between January 2001 and December 2008.

Tea had a significant effect on blood pressure, with a large reduction in the heavy tea drinkers compared with non-drinkers.

But there is bad news for coffee fiends who were found to be more unhealthy and more likely to smoke.

Non-coffee drinkers were more physically active, with 45% having a good level of fitness compared with 41% of coffee drinkers.

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