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Do This for 5 Minutes, Get 5 Years Younger

Do This for 5 Minutes, Get 5 Years Younger

Here's a pleasant little pastime that takes about 5 minutes to do each day but could make you up to 5 years younger if you're faithful to it: drinking tea.

In a Chinese study, the cells of enthusiastic tea drinkers showed about 5 fewer years' worth of wear and tear compared with the cells of people who drank little tea.

Age Marker
The enthusiastic tea drinkers averaged 3 or more cups of green or oolong tea daily, while the group that showed more signs of cell aging averaged less than a cup. The researchers looked specifically at the study participants' telomeres to see how much their cells had aged. Telomeres are the protective end caps on your DNA strands. They get a smidge shorter every time cells divide, so the shorter these caps are, the older your cells are, too. And in the study, the most avid tea drinkers had significantly longer telomeres than the people who drank less than a cup a day.

Turn Back the Clock
Researchers think it's the antioxidants in tea that help keep telomeres long. It's a beneficial chain reaction of sorts. Antioxidants fight diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease -- conditions that tend to damage cells. And when damaged, cells divide in order to repair injuries and the telomeres -- a finite resource -- shrink. Interestingly, the tea study showed telomere benefits only in men, possibly because cell-protecting hormones unique to women left less room for improvement. But there are plenty of other reasons for both men and women to drink tea. So bottoms up!

Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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