For centuries, folks have touted the many health benefits of tea, calling it a real-life “fountain of youth.”

In fact, according to a new study, this may not be too far from the truth.  Researchers have found that regular consumption of our favorite beverage may help reduce the chances of DNA damage in the human body.

telomeres are in redAs you age, your cells are constantly replicating.  Throughout this replication, your cells are being bombarded by nasty little particles called free radicals (not as cool as they sound, believe me!).  Free radical damage causes the sequences at each of the ends of DNA chromosomes, known as telomeres, to shorten.

Once telomeres begin to diminish, senescence (biological aging) takes hold – the cell dies, never to replicate again.

However, researchers found that folks who drank tea on a consistent basis (about 3 cups of tea daily) had significantly less damage to their telomeres than those who drank just water.

This difference meant that telomeres were about 4.6 kilobases longer, which (according to the study) equates to “approximately a difference of 5 years of life.”

So keep those telomeres sturdy – drink more tea!