Regularly drinking tea or coffee during middle age could help people ward off frailty later in life, a new study suggests. The research, conducted by a team at the National University of Singapore, involved over 12,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 74, spanning two decades. The key to these potential benefits, they suggest, is caffeine.

Those who consumed four cups of coffee daily experienced the most significant benefits, but consistent drinkers of black and green tea also saw advantages.

“Coffee and tea are mainstay beverages in many societies around the world. Our studies show that consumption of these caffeinated drinks at midlife may be associated with a reduced likelihood of physical frailty in late life,” says Professor Koh Woon Puay, from the Healthy Longevity Translational Research Program at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, in a media release. “However, further studies are still needed to confirm these longitudinal associations, and to investigate if these effects on physical frailty are mediated by caffeine or other chemical compounds.”

Initial interviews were conducted with participants at an average age of 53. They were asked about their drinking habits of caffeine-rich beverages, such as tea, coffee, and sodas, as well as foods like chocolate. In subsequent interviews around 20 years later, participants were questioned about factors like their weight and feelings of energy. They also underwent tests measuring handgrip strength and the time needed to complete a timed up-and-go (TUG) test.... Read More: Study Finds