Compounds in green tea may help protect women against breast cancer, preliminary study findings suggest. Investigators found that rats that drank water containing green tea had reductions in the size and malignancy of breast tumours compared with rats that drank only water. The tumours of tea-drinking rats developed later and were less invasive.
These findings, coupled with observations of lower rates of breast cancer in countries where green tea is consumed daily, suggest that green tea may benefit women as part of an overall healthy diet.
Although data from animal studies cannot always be generalized to humans, the findings suggest that green tea can be protective against breast cancer induced by environmental carcinogens. However, patients who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for breast cancer should consult with their doctors before drinking large amounts of green tea.
Green tea contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals. These cell-damaging molecules occur naturally in the body and are linked with heart disease, aging and a number of other disorders. Dry green tea leaves may also reduce the risk of cancer of the stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas, study findings have suggested.
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