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Tea Tipped as Trendy Drink in 21st Century
Tea is expected to replace coffee and cocoa as the most popular drink of the 21st century, experts predict.

They base their conclusion on the ground that tea is better than either coffee or cocoa in safeguarding health.

Tea does not contain salt, fat or any substance that produces heat, says Ding Junzhi, honorary chairman of the International Research Institute for Tea Culture and a professor at the South China Agriculture University.

Ding says drinking tea fits the lifestyle of modern people who care more about their health.

Survey results released by the United Nations indicate that one of the secrets of longevity is "drinking more tea and smoking less ". A relevant U.N. organization has also stated it will encourage people around the world, especially young people, to drink tea.

A survey carried out in east China's Anhui Province shows that the more than 30 centenarians in the province love drinking tea.

People nowadays are drinking less cocoa since it can be fattening and may lead to some childhood ailments, and caffeine also produces undesirable side-effect in the human body, according to research.

Current coffee consumption in the United States has dropped to only 65 percent of what it was in 1957. Americans are now drinking more tea - one kg per capita now compared with 0.31 kg in 1960.

Shi Yunqing, vice-chairman of the China Tea Circulation Association, claims that scientific research also proves that tea can prolong life.

Research results show that tea contains more than 450 kinds of organic compounds and 15 kinds of inorganic minerals, which can help prevent diseases and protect health.

Polyphenol in tea can effectively reduce cholesterol and triglyceride in blood, increase the toughness and elasticity of capillary blood vessels, and reduce blood fat, thus helping prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Medical research shows that tea is rich in selenium that helps prolong old age. Chinese scientifists have found that the hair of long-lived people is rich in selenium and the level of selenium in their blood is twice that of other groups.

Researchers in the United States have also found that polyphenol and selenium in green tea shows promise in preventing cancer.

Professor Ding says the history of tea cultivation is much older than those of coffee and cocoa. Tea is now a popular drink in about 160 countries and regions worldwide.

Attracted by the beverage's ability to protect health and its special aroma, an increasing number of foreign students studying in China have begun drinking tea.

( People's Daily June 7, 2002)

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