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Tea's Popularity Brews among Drinkers
Forget about cappuccino, Coca-Cola or Pepsi -- tea is set to be most popular with drinkers in the 21st century.

Chinese researchers say it will become increasingly popular among consumers seeking to keep fit, stay young and live longer.

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

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

And evidence is already emerging on the global horizon.

Survey results released by the United Nations revealed that one of the secrets of longevity is "drinking more tea and smoking less."

A survey carried out in East China's Anhui Province shows that 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-effects in the human body, according to research.

Current coffee consumption in the United States has dropped to just 65 per cent of the level of 1957. Americans are now drinking more tea -- 1 kilogram per capita now compared with 0.31 kilograms in 1960.

Shi Yunqing, vice-chairman of the China Tea Circulation Association, claims 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 fat in the system, thus helping prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Medical research shows that tea is rich in selenium, which that helps prolong old age.

Chinese scientists 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.

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

(China Daily June 11, 2002)

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