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While some lifestyle habits, which can cut your risk of cancer, might be demanding, others can be pretty relaxing. One simple and calming way that could see your risk fall is by enjoying tea. “Overall evidence suggests that tea (both green and black) may help reduce the risk of cancer because its polyphenol activity helps to protect cells from damage,” said tea expert and researcher Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel.
The expert shared that cutting your risk of the deadly condition could be as simple as having a cup of tea.
The reason why the hot drink is so potent comes down to its flavonoid polyphenols, which offer anti-cancer properties.
Dr Bond said: “Both black and green tea contain polyphenols with some overlap in the types contained across the two types of tea.
“Theaflavins and thearubigins are dominant in black tea and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and EGC (epigallocatechin), amongst others, are present in high levels in green tea.
“All of these polyphenols have antioxidant activity, which means that they can help protect the cells in our bodies from DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS).”
This type of damage is known for increasing your cancer risk, so protecting your body from it can consequently cut your risk of the condition.
What’s more, research has proven that tea polyphenols can also reduce cancer cell growth.
The tea expert said: “Tea or tea polyphenols have been found in laboratory studies to inhibit tumours at different organ sites, including the skin, lung, oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, pancreas, and breast.
“However, cancer is initiated by cell damage and tea polyphenols can help protect against cell/DNA damage so there would seem to be no good reason why tea cannot help protect against all types of cancer.”
It’s important to note that tea hasn’t been proven to prevent cancer, it merely reduces the risk of the condition.
How much tea should I drink?
If you tend to drink a few cups per day, you’re in luck, as studies suggest the optimal amount is between three to four cups daily.
Dr Bond said: “Studies have evaluated a range of tea intakes for cancer prevention, e.g., one to seven cups daily.
“Many other studies evaluating a range of health outcomes with tea have suggested three to four cups of tea each day.
“For overall health benefits including maintaining healthy body cells, aim for three to four cups daily.”
When it comes to preparing your cuppa, everyone has a certain preference. From the amount of milk to sugar or no sugar, there’s plenty to consider.
However, the expert shared that the brewing time is most important if you want to reap all the goodies.
Dr Bond said: “Brewing tea for longer helps to increase the release of the polyphenols into the brew.
“I’d recommend aiming for three to four minutes to get the best release of the bioactive polyphenols from the tea bag or tea leaves.
“Steeping for longer such as 10 to 15 minutes can make the tea quite bitter and not so drinkable.
“The only cups of tea that benefit health are those that are actually drunk. Don’t let your tea stand for so long that it gets cold and you throw it away!”
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