Can green tea protect against breast cancer?
Monday 01 November 2010
Green tea is brimming with healthful benefits and enjoyed by millions all over the world. But Japanese researchers say when it comes to protecting women against breast cancer, the cup is empty.
Motoki Iwasaki, from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, lead a study involving some 54,000 Japanese women over five years to measure green tea's effect on breast cancer. Regardless of how many cups of tea the women drank, no benefits were shown. The study, published October 28 in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research, was a follow-up to in vitro and animal-based studies that have suggested green tea may play a role in preventing breast cancer.
That doesn't mean brewing a pot of green tea is a bad idea. It's been prized for thousands of years for its healthful properties - like regulating digestive functions, lowering blood sugar, improving mental processes, regulating body temperature, and as an astringent and diuretic, among many others. And modern-day scientists have long known that its high concentrations of powerful antioxidants are associated with preventing coronary artery disease, lowering cholesterol, and fighting others types of cancers.
Japanese researchers recently discovered that drinking five cups of green tea a day could help women reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer by 20 percent. Also, research has shown that green tea can strengthen bones, prevent tooth decay, and help with weight loss because of its calorie-burning properties.
Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and has a high concentration of a key antioxidant polyphenol - a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, damaging compounds in the body that can alter cells, cause cell death, and change DNA. In other words, drink up.
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