Can black tea lower the risk of cancer?
You may well be aware of some of the health benefits of tea, but it is one particular quality of black tea that has gained the interest of medical experts. Black tea is rich in flavonoids, which are bioactive compounds that help to support cells throughout the body, explains Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Tea Advisory Panel.
There have been various studies showing that flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can inhibit cancer cells, such as one recent paper that links tea consumption to the reduced risk of oral cancer.
The ICARE study, entitled Tea and coffee consumption and risk of oral cavity cancer: Results of a large population-based case-control, showed that people who drink more than two cups of tea a day are more than three times less likely to suffer the disease than those who consumed none at all. Individuals who were lifelong tea drinkers saw a 60 per cent reduction in their cancer risk.
Dr Ruxton commented: "There were no differences in risk between men and women, or between smokers and drinkers and those who abstained. "The beneficial finding may be due to natural antioxidant components in tea which play a role in cell repair." The expert noted that flavonoids in black tea work regardless of whether milk is added or not, which will no doubt prove good news for tea drinkers all over the world.
Researchers in the US recently discovered a link between drinking tea and reducing the impact of cognitive decline - women were more likely than their male counterparts to maintain their mental faculties if they drank tea. Compared to no tea intake, individuals who drank more than seven cups a day saw a 63 per cent decline in cognitive impairment.