Can drinking tea everyday lower your risk of ovarian cancer? According to a new study from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, it can. Now there’s one more reason to get out the teapot and enjoy the many health benefits this popular beverage has to offer.
This study looked at the tea drinking habits of 2,700 women living in Australian – half who had ovarian cancer and half of whom didn’t. They found that women who drank more than four cups of tea a day had a thirty percent lower ovarian cancer risk relative to women who weren’t tea drinkers. Although green tea has received the most focus in terms of cancer prevention, black and herbal teas were just as effective in this study.
This isn’t the first study to show that drinking tea lowers the risk of ovarian cancer. A 2005 study found that drinking as little as two cups a day lowered ovarian cancer risk by forty-six percent. Tea may be the drink of choice when it comes to preventing ovarian cancer – the eighth most common cancer among women – and one of the deadliest.
How does drinking tea reduce the risk of ovarian cancer? Tea is a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols – the most potent of which is ECGC. Not only does ECGC have strong antioxidant benefits, but it also reduces cellular DNA damage that can lead to cancer and stops the proliferation of cancer cells by blocking their blood supply. It’s not clear why drinking herbal tea offered protection in this study since herbal teas don’t contain the same polyphenols as green tea, although they may contain other antioxidants.
Anything that can be done to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer is of benefit since this cancer is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage which makes it difficult to cure. Some studies show that eating a diet high in processed foods, refined sugar, and red meat increases the risk of ovarian cancer, while a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and high in vitamin A is protective – but more studies are needed to confirm this. Reproductive factors also play a role in the risk of ovarian cancer and women who don’t have children are at greater risk. Women who took the birth control for five years or more are also at a lower risk of this disease.
The best way to prevent ovarian cancer naturally is to eat less red meat and processed food and eat more fruits and vegetables – and make tea your drink of choice.