This new study is just one more reason to brew up a mug for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Karla Walsh; Reviewed by Lisa Valente M.S., R.D.
October 23, 2020
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Credit: Getty / quiLie

You're probably well aware that drinking coffee or tea is a great way to warm your bones as the fall temperatures start to dip. Depending on what type you choose, the caffeine can offer an energy boost as well, and a mug of either can make for a relaxing and subtle self-care break in the middle of a crazy-hectic morning.

In moderation, both tea and coffee offer ample health benefits, too, ranging from a sharper brain to a brighter mood to slightly lower risk for cancer. New research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care gives us all—especially those with type 2 diabetes—one more reason to make these cozy drinks a consistent part of our daily lives.

New Coffee and Green Tea Diabetes Research

Drinking four or more daily cups of green tea plus two or more of coffee was associated with a 63% lower risk of death for the study length of 5 years, Japanese scientists discovered. Earlier research has hinted that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in many teas might offer body benefits to healthy populations. This is one of the first studies to dive into the impact of both of these buzzy beverages on those with diabetes, who are at higher risk than the general public for certain cancers, circulatory diseases, dementia and bone fractures.

To make this discovery, the team gave lifestyle, food and drink questionnaires to nearly 5,000 Japanese people with type 2 diabetes enrolled in The Fukuoka Diabetes Registry. This asked not only how much green tea and coffee they drank daily, but also how often they exercised, how much they slept, if they smoked and how much alcohol they drank (if they did). Throughout the course of the 5-year study, 309 participants died, most often from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Compared with those who drank neither coffee or tea, those who drank one or both had lower odds of dying from any cause (AKA "all-cause mortality"). The participants who reported drinking higher amounts of both green tea and coffee had the lowest risk of death.

  • Drinking up to 1 cup of green tea per day was associated with 15% lower odds
  • Drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea per day was associated with 27% lower odds
  • Drinking 4 cups of green tea per day was associated with 40% lower odds.
  • Drinking less than 1 cup of coffee per day was associated with 12% lower odds
  • Drinking 1 cup of coffee per day was associated with 19% lower odds
  • Drinking 2 cups of coffee per day was associated with 41% lower odds

People with type 2 who drank both green tea and coffee daily were found to score the biggest benefits of all:

  • 51% lower risk for 2 to 3 cups of green tea and 2 or more cups of coffee
  • 58% lower risk for 4 cups of green tea and 1 cup of coffee
  • 63% lower risk for 4 cups of green tea and 2 cups of coffee

The Bottom Line

While more research is needed to figure out exactly why this happens—and to confirm this all to be true, since this was conclusion comes from one self-reported observational study that cannot distinctly prove a cause-and-effect relationship—"this prospective cohort study demonstrated that greater consumption of green tea and coffee was significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality: the effects may be additive," the researchers concluded.