Can Tea Prevent Cancer?

Tea is an ancient beverage, but one of the most popular drinks consumed on the planet. Made up of a plant leaf named Camellia Sinensis, tea contains plant chemicals called catechins which have been known to have health benefits. While all tea will contain these chemicals, they're more concentrated in green tea. And as many studies have shown, green tea is highly beneficial to our health. But how about when it comes to reducing the risk of cancer?

Can tea been used to reduce the risk of cancer? 
First of all, we will take a look at some of the reasons why drinking tea has been linked to preventing cancer. First things first, tea has been known to reduce free radicals in the body, which are suggested to cause cancer. Free radical damage kills cells, and can even 'switch on' certain genes that tell the cancer to start. The active ingredient in tea, especially catechins helps to reduce the amount of free radicals by anti-oxidising them. Research has shown that tea can improve free racial damage (including ultraviolet radiation) and can increase detoxification enzymes. Tea has also been linked to cancerous tumour protection. Tea may help regulate your immune system which can of course give you protection against all kinds of illnesses, including cancer. However, while these studies have all shown that tea can help somewhat in protection and reducing free radicals, does it really mean it can protect against cancer?

How much would I need to drink? 
The research used around 1200mg of catechins, which is roughly equitant of 10-15 green tea bags (and more with regular tea). Most of us would be unlikely to be able to drink such a large amount on a regular basis, and even if you could- side effects would be likely. The studies reported side effects including nausea, dizziness, gas, abdominal pain, shaking and diarrhoea. Drinking too much fluid in general can be dangerous and this is something to be aware of, and on top of this, tea contains caffeine even if it's in relatively low levels. Drink it to excess and you're sure to notice the side effects of the drug, which include shakiness, anxiety, not being able to sleep and even heart issues in people who are prone to them.

The verdict?
Overall, getting enough of the recommend dose of tea is not realistically doable. The side effects are  significant and could result in serious health issues, which could outweigh the positives of drinking it in the first place. Instead of drinking masses of tea, focus on eating a diet high in antioxidants and avoiding free radicals as these can and do cause cancer. Enjoy the occasional cup of green tea as there are fantastic health benefits, but drinking fifteen cups a day in a bid to prevent cancer is not the way to do it!

Do you drink much green tea?

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