Does Tea Help Prevent Cancer?

Tea drinking is an ancient tradition dating back 5,000 years. It has been used throughout history as a therapeutic way to aid various health conditions. With over 80% of the US consuming tea, it is only natural that the benefits are researched. Tea has been believed to promote good health, prevent illnesses, and even reduce your risk of getting cancer. Researchers have focused on the levels of antioxidants called catechins when evaluating teas health benefits.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are chemicals that fight a process called oxidation. Our bodies continuously produce unstable molecules called oxidants, also known as free radicals. Free radicals play a role in aging and various diseases. Your body creates free radicals as it processes toxins such as alcohol and pollution, or simply with food and sunlight. In an effort to stabilize free radicals take electrons from molecules, in turn damaging cell proteins and the genetic material inside them allowing oxidation to occur. This leaves your cells susceptible to cancer.

How are they created?

Antioxidants are most commonly found in plant-based foods aside from the antioxidants your body naturally makes. Fruits and vegetables are staples of healthy living because of the antioxidants vitamin C and E, selenium, and beta- carotene they possess. Having an abundance of these in your body is crucial due to their power to stop or break down free radicals preventing damage to occur.

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Tea Antioxidant Levels

A large portion of tea comes from a plant called the Camellia Sinensis. Green tea, oolong and black tea are all sourced from this plant but vary in taste and appearance. These variations are caused by the level of processing a tea leaf undergoes. Green tea production undergoes very small amounts of processing allowing it to retain a large amount of antioxidants making it one of nature's most powerful, beneficial drinks. Whether you drink black tea or green tea, allowing the tea to soak in the water for 5 minutes will release 80 percent of its catechins giving you the highest level of benefits.

Tea and Cancer Prevention

Teas are rich in micronutrients called polyphenols that carry large amounts of catechins. There are more than ten catechin compounds in tea, among which epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant. Catechins are natural antioxidants that prevent cell damage amongst other benefits. Tea catechins such as EGCG exert capabilities of antiangiogenic abilities inhibiting tumors from growing new blood vessels. In this respect catechins could slow cancer growth or possibly shrink it. Laboratory studies have shown that catechins inhibit the growth of cancer in a variety of ways. These include:

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Green Tea Antioxidants

Green tea has a natural source of polyphenols. Due to its limited processing it retains high levels of polyphenols with catechins believed to provide numerous health benefits. Green Tea has an abundance of a catchein known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and (ECG). Like vitamins E and C, EGCG and ECG  antioxidants act together to chemically neutralize free radicals minimizing the potential damage.These help keep your body, hair, and skin healthy while preventing the development of cancer by blocking the growth of cancer cells. Green tea’s EGCG is one of the most powerful components of green teas alongside numerous minerals that give its strong medicinal properties.There have been numerous studies showing the impact consuming green tea has had on numerous cancer types.

Below are some findings:

  • Colon cancer: A report showing 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were up to 42% less likely to develop colon cancer.

  • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea could decrease their risk by 48% of developing prostate cancer.
  • Breast cancer: An observational study found that women green tea drinkers had a 20-30% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Cancer is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells and is the leading cause of death in the world. Although there is no definite cure at this time, there are an array of herbal home remedies that are believed to make impact in your risk levels. Simply drink 3 to 4 cups of tea a day to make a conscious effort to protect yourself from contracting various illnesses and diseases such as cancer. Whether you integrate green tea or black tea into your daily routine, you will be creating a healthier, sustainable, preventative lifestyle.