Green tea has long been linked to cancer prevention. And, a new health breakthrough has found that women who drink green tea may have a reduced risk of certain digestive system cancers—especially those in the stomach, esophagus, and colorectum.
In a recent study, researchers surveyed women in a large population study in Shanghai, which included 75,000 women over 45. In an initial interview, they were asked if they drank tea, what type of tea they consumed, and how much they consumed. Not surprisingly, most Chinese women preferred green tea.
The study reports that regular green tea consumption (drinking at least three times a week for more than six months) was linked to a 17% reduced risk of all digestive cancers combined.
Even greater protection was delivered to those who drank even more green tea. If the women drank two to three cups per day, the reduced risk grew to 21%. This trend was strongest for cancers of the stomach, esophageal, and colorectal areas. Colorectal cancer is among the most fatal of all types of cancer.
For women who had regularly consumed green tea for at least 20 years, the risk was reduced by 27%. For colorectal cancer, the figure was 29%. The study shows simply that the more you expose your body to green tea, the greater the protection against cancer.
Tea contains polyphenols, or natural chemicals that include catechins, like EGCG and ECG. Catechins have antioxidant properties that may inhibit cancer by reducing DNA damage, and blocking tumor cell growth and invasion.
The study did account for other lifestyle factors that could have had an effect, such as diet, exercise habits, and occupation. Notably, smokers and those who regularly drank alcohol were excluded. Also notable is that regular green tea drinkers tended to have healthier diets than other people, with more fruits and vegetables. Any of these factors may have affected the results.
Whatever the case, the suggestion is clear. Eat healthy, and add several cups of green tea each week, and you will be helping to protect yourself from cancer.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Extensive Study Shows Green Tea May Help Prevent Cancer
The study by lead author Sarah Nechuta, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor of Medicine, was published online in advance of the November 1, 2012 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.