Green tea could help pensioners stay in the pink, according to a study.
Those who drank the beverage stayed more physically active than their peers, researchers found.
Coffee and standard tea did not provide this benefit.
Japanese researchers found that those who drank the most green tea were the least likely to develop 'functional disability'
Researchers tracked the health of almost 14,000 men and women aged 65-plus for three years, noting what they ate and drank and factoring in data on any care they needed.
The more green tea they consumed, the more mobile and self-sufficient they were.
Those who got through at least five cups a day were 33 per cent less likely to develop a disability than those who drank less than one cup.
Three to four cups a day cut the risk by 25 per cent, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported.
Green tea drinkers fared better as they grew older even taking into account that they generally had healthier diets, lower smoking rates, were better educated and had more friends and family to rely on, the Tokyo University study found.
It is not clear why green tea gives such a boost to health. But it does contain high levels of polyphenols, plant chemicals thought to cut cholesterol and protect DNA from damage.
These are found at much lower levels in normal tea or in coffee.
However, the study did not prove that green tea alone kept people spry as they grew older. Green-tea lovers generally also had healthier diets
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