Green tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which are believed to help protect against cancer and heart disease. A study from China has reported beneficial associations between regular consumption of green tea and colorectal cancer risk. The disease affects around a million people worldwide and is linked to poor eating habits, low levels of physical activity, and ageing populations.
A cohort of 70,000 Chinese women aged 40 to 70 years was followed for 6 years, during which time 256 cases of colorectal cancer were recorded. Baseline dietary habits were then correlated with cancer risk in order to identify potentially protective foods and beverages.
Regular consumption of green tea was associated with a 37% reduction in colorectal cancer risk. There was a dose response relationship in that the clearest benefits were seen in those who consumed the most tea and for the greatest number of years. While the study focussed only on associations, it backs up other research pointing to the significant protective attributes of green tea polyphenols, e.g. epigallocatechin gallate and epicatechin.
For more information, see
Yang G et al (2007) Prospective cohort study of green tea consumption and colorectal cancer risk in women. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Vol 16, pg 1219-1223.