The incredible anti-aging secret hiding in your tea cup1

Forget coffee and OJ. The best way to start your day is with a cup of tea. Hot in the winter or iced in the summer, tea's more than just a terrific morning pick-me-up.

It's also nature's best source of age-fighting, disease-beating, life-giving nutrients known as flavonoids, which is why tea drinkers live longer, healthier lives than everyone else.

And ladies, new research shows that drinking two to four cups a day could cut your own risk of a premature demise by an incredible 40 percent.

The biggest benefit is right where you want it most: The study of more than 1,000 older women finds tea protects against heart disease and cancer.

Those are the top two causes of death, responsible for more fatalities every year than the rest of the top 10 combined.

Sidestep those two killers, and you'll be in great shape for your golden years -- and that's not even close to everything tea can do for you. Studies have consistently shown that tea drinkers have a lower risk of everything from diabetes to dementia.

That other popular morning drink, coffee, can also come with some benefits, especially protection from certain forms of cancer. But coffee also comes with higher levels of caffeine, which many people are sensitive to (even if they don't realize it).

Tea, on the other hand, contains just the right amount to perk you up without making you edgy for hours.

Tea also comes in more types and flavors, and if you mix it up a little and enjoy green, black and herbal teas, you'll enjoy a wider variety of nutrients to help cut your risk of other chronic diseases.

Having said all that, there is a catch -- and it's a pretty big one.

Tea is very sensitive to what's in the soil. If it's grown in polluted dirt, many of the toxins can end up in the leaves. Since much of the world's tea is grown in China, it's a safe bet that much of the world's tea contains a fair amount of toxins.

So be sure to take a close look at the country of origin and choose teas that aren't from China, but ideally organic teas grown right here in the United States instead.