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There has been quite a bit of attention being paid to the anti-oxidant effects of tea.
NCI funded research published in June 2007suggests that
Here is an article from Alternative Medicine which sums up the subject very nicely.
Black Tea, Green tea, Iced Tea
In China and Japan, many epidemiological studies have found that tea drinkers have a lower than average incidence of cancer. Over the past decade, studies from other parts of the world have supported this conclusion.
In a study involving 35,000 women in Iowa, those who drank at least two cups of tea a day had 60% less kidney and bladder cancer and 32% less cancer of the esophagus and colon. A 15-year study of men in the Netherlands concluded that those who drank more than four cups of green tea a day were 69% less likely than others to suffer a stroke. In Ohio, a study by Dr. Hasan Mukhtar of Case Western Reserve University found that mice which were given green tea and exposed to chemical carcinogens or ultraviolet light developed 90% fewer tumors than mice which were not given tea.
The mechanisms by which tea conveys its health benefits are not yet fully understood. However, University of Kansas chemist Lester Mitscher, Ph.D., maintains that, "Tea is the most powerful anti-oxidant there is." According to studies at Tufts University, one cup of green or black tea has more anti-oxidant power against the most common kind of free radical in the body, the peroxyl radical, than one-half cup of broccoli, carrots, spinach or strawberries. In numerous animal and test tube studies, compounds in tea called catechins have been effective against a broad spectrum of cancers. Dr. Mitscher found that one catechin, EGCG, was 100 times more potent than vitamin C and 25 times more potent than vitamin E. EGCG blocks an enzyme that tumors use to grow new capillaries, explains Jerzy Jankun, a tumor biologist at the Medical College of Ohio. Studies of mice in Japan suggest that catechins also protect tissues from sun damage, cigarette smoke, air pollutants and
Some bacteria seem susceptible to catechins as well. Asian studies have
shown that green tea inhibits bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay
in laboratory rats. Two ongoing studies are further investigating
tea's anti-cancer properties: Dr. Mitscher is studying the effects of
the equivalent of four cups of tea a day in women at high risk for breast
cancer, and patients at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are being
tested for the effects of large quantities of tea on tumor shrinkage.
According to experiments by Dr. Mitscher, green tea has about twice the
anti-oxidant effect of black tea. One cup of green or black tea
has more anti-oxidant power than one half cup of broccoli, carrots, spinach
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE MAY 1999