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Specific Type of Tea Linked to Decreased Breast Cancer Risk

According to a group of American and Chinese researchers from Vanderbilt University, the Shanghai Cancer Institute and the Shanghai Center for Disease Prevention, regular consumption of green tea may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.

The results are published in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

For the study, researchers recruited 3,454 women with breast cancer and 3,474 healthy women controls between the ages of 20 and 74. The participants were all interviewed between 1996 and 2005 about their tea consumption.

The women were asked a series of questions to identify their typical daily consumption of green tea, number of years drinking tea, brewing methods and brew strength.

After reviewing the data and adjusting for outside influences like age, smoking and alcohol consumption. The researchers found that regular green tea consumption was associated with a 12% decrease in breast cancer risk.

The results of this study are likely due to the anti cancer properties of polyphenols in tea. Polyphenols are antioxidant rich compounds found naturally in plants. There are four main types of polyphenols in tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epicatechin (EC).

The most popular, EGCG, has been shown to decrease the risk of certain cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and help balance blood sugar levels. A study published in the February 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemimology, Biomarkers and Prevention found that ECG may reduce the risk of stomach cancer by 75%.
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