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Three Cups of Tea a Day Slashes Your Breast Cancer Risk

February 10, 2009 | 62,922 views

teaJust three cups of tea a day can reduce the risk of breast cancer in young women. New research shows that the chances of developing a tumor drop by around 37 percent in women under 50 who drank tea at least three times daily.

Older women who consumed similar amounts did not see a the same benefit; researchers theorized that the anti-cancer properties of tea may have a more potent effect on the types of tumors that tend to grow in younger women.

Although the health benefits of tea are well known, they have long been considered to mostly affect heart disease. A study last year showed four cups a day could reduce your risk of a heart attack. However, other recent studies have suggested that tea can protect against skin cancer, ovarian cancer and even weak bones.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, other than water. Even in the United States, which is typically considered a coffee-drinking nation, tea can be found in 80 percent of all households, according to the Tea Association of the USA.

Although I still believe that pure water should make up the majority of your daily fluid intake, it’s becoming increasingly clear that high-quality tea has numerous health benefits to offer.

Among them is growing evidence that the polyphenols in tea, which include EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and many others, are protective against cancer. In this most recent study, women under 50 who drank three or more cups of tea a day had a 37 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

Other studies have also highlighted tea’s potential to fight skin cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer, and compelling evidence suggests that the polyphenols in green tea are even more effective at fighting the progression of cancer than the antioxidants found in red wine and grapes.

So if you enjoy sipping on a hot (or cold) cup of tea, you may be giving your body some extra protection against cancer. And that’s not all.

Tea’s Benefits Extend to Your Entire Body

Tea was discovered in 2737 BC by Shen-Nung, the Chinese Emperor known as the “Divine Healer.” According to the Tea Association of the USA, legend has it that tea leaves accidentally blew into the Emperor’s pot of boiling water, and the rest is history.

For nearly 5,000 years since, tea has been regarded by many cultures as a powerful health tonic. As one Chinese proverb says:

“Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.”

For instance, the beneficial properties in tea have been known to:

• Neutralize the effects to your body of harmful fats and oils
• Inhibit bacteria and viruses such as HIV, hepatitis, and herpes
• Improve digestion
• Protect against oxidation in your brain and liver
• Help promote healthy gums

Tea may also improve exercise performance, increase fat oxidation and prevent obesity, as it’s known to have a regulatory effect on fat metabolism. And drinking tea has been linked to:

• Improved mental alertness and slowing of brain-cell degeneration
• Lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
• Reduced blood pressure
• Lower risk of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers
• Protection again type 2 diabetes
• Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke

Does it Matter Which Type of Tea You Drink?

There are thousands of different types of tea out there, each with subtle differences in flavor and possibly health benefits depending on where it was grown (similar to grapes used to make wine).

What may surprise you is that ALL tea (except herbal tea) comes from the same plant, a warm-weather evergreen called Camellia sinensis. The varying colors and flavors come from the way the plant is processed -- the darker the tea, generally the longer it has been oxidized, or exposed to oxygen. Black teas may be oxidized for two to four hours, whereas green tea is not typically exposed to any oxygen.

One of the easiest signs to look for when evaluating a green tea’s quality is therefore its color: if your green tea is actually brown, it’s likely been oxidized. When I drink green tea, I personally prefer Matcha tea, as the color is a vibrant bright green and it is far less processed and of much higher quality than most green teas.

My other favorite is Tulsi tea, which is a powerful adaptogenic herb that provides important therapeutic benefits.

Also, rather than being steeped and strained like typical tea, matcha tea is made of tea leaves ground into a powder, and the powder gets added right into the water. Because you are actually consuming the whole leaf, matcha tea is said to be one of the healthiest green teas out there.

There are also many very healthy herbal teas out there, which are made from leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers of plants, and are technically “infusions” or “tisanes,” not “teas.”

My advice on which ones to choose? Listen to your body and drink those that appeal most to you.

Of course, there are some general ground rules to follow when selecting tea of any kind, and those are that it should preferably be:

• Organic (otherwise tea may be heavily sprayed with pesticides)

• Grown in a pristine environment (tea is known to accumulate fluoride, heavy metals and other toxins from soil and water, so a clean growing environment is essential to producing a pure, high-quality tea)

With that in mind, tea can certainly be a regular addition to your healthy lifestyle.

[+] Sources and References

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