From afternoon high teas rituals, to the Mad Hatter, to today’s memes about “spilling tea,” tea drinking has been prevalent in many cultures – and pop culture – throughout history.

And while there have been numerous studies on the physical health benefits that tea can provide, a study found that regularly drinking tea may also help people avoid depressive symptoms.

The study, published in BMC Geriatrics, set out to explore how tea might affect Chinese seniors using data from a study that included more than 13,000 elderly participants. Of those approximately 13,000, 8.1% were non-drinkers, 25.3% were inconsistent drinkers, 17.7% were consistent drinkers, and 18.9% were consistent daily drinkers.

Tea drinkers, particularly consistent daily drinkers, reported a significantly lower number of depressive symptoms when compared with non-drinkers in the study. Researchers concluded that the association between consistent and frequent tea consumption and less depressive symptoms holds up even after they adjusted for other factors like socioeconomic status, lifestyle, health status and social engagement.

And while the researchers in this study did not identify what type of tea subjects were drinking (green, black, herbal), regularly sitting down for a “spot of tea” might just be the thing that soothes the soul and promotes healthy aging.  Of course, anyone with medical concerns should consult their physicians with questions.

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