Drinking Green Tea May Help to Reduce the Risk of Developing Gastrointestinal Cancer

Drinking Green Tea May Help to Reduce the Risk of Developing Gastrointestinal Cancer

Tea drinkers will be happy to learn that they just might be protecting themselves against the risks of developing stomach and intestinal cancers. It appears that green tea can help fight gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. This is the process by which normal cells in the gastrointestinal tract can be transformed into cancer cells.

Green tea has been found to contain high levels of antioxidants which are considered very beneficial in the fight against cancer. Antioxidants are compounds that can oxidize very easily, or in other words sacrifice one of their molecules to carcinogens, which are compounds looking to steal molecules from normal, healthy cells. Carcinogens, or free radicals, in the body are considered cancer causing agents because they damage the body’s cells by stealing molecules. This can cause the cells to grow out of control, thus developing into cancer cells.

Green tea is thought to be extremely beneficial because the tea leaves are fresh and unfermented, thus preserving the antioxidants, called catechins, present in the leaves. The tea leaves come from the plant Camellia sinensis, which is the same plant that black tea comes from. The difference lies in how the leaves are treated. . The black tea leaves undergo the oxidation process, which oxidizes much of the specific antioxidants that are present in the green tea leaves. Of course, black teas have been found to contain many beneficial and unique antioxidants of their own, but do not contain the same amount of antioxidants as green tea.

These catechins found in green tea are considered better and stronger antioxidants than those found in black tea because they are water soluble and oxidize very easily, giving them a better chance of neutralizing free radicals before they have that chance to damage the body’s cells.

There are currently 30 epidemiological studies of green tea’s use in the prevention of cancer. However, there are very few studies on the treatment of preexisting cancers with green tea. A majority of the studies on green tea deal with whether the antioxidants present in the tea leaves help prevent gastrointestinal cancers.

One particular study on laboratory rats showed that 93.8% of a group of rats fed the extracted catechins from green tea survived after exposure to a strong mammary carcinogen (DMBA). This is compared to only 33.3% of the control group of rats not fed the protective catechins.

In another study was conducted on 1004 Chinese men: 190 of who had gastric cancer, 42 of whom had esophageal cancer, and 772 of whom were cancer free.

These men were studied over the course of 4 to 12 years. Those participants who were known to drink green tea on a regular basis showed a 50% lower risk of developing gastric and esophageal cancers. This is a significant difference. It basically means that 50% fewer participants in the tea drinker’s group developed cancer than of those in the group found not to drink tea on a regular basis.

There are a total of about eight studies that show drinking green tea on a regular basis can reduce the risk of stomach cancer. It’s possible that green tea is also more effective in the prevention of esophageal and stomach cancers because it moves through the intestinal tract and is in direct, prolonged contact with those tissues.

Many researchers are saying that it is still too early to state conclusively that green tea can help to protect its drinkers from developing gastrointestinal cancers or even help fight the cancer that has all ready developed. However, the current clinical studies look promising. Many tea drinkers claim the possible benefits of drinking green tea outweigh any small inconveniences.

Green tea has been used for hundreds of thousands of years in China and Japan. In fact, the numbers indicating the risks of developing gastrointestinal cancers in those two countries are among the lowest in the world

Not all green teas are the same. There is a wide variance among green teas concerning freshness, consistency, and concentration of the antioxidants in the teas. Information about the concentration of the antioxidants can sometimes be found on the packaging. It is best to find your preferred brand of green tea and stick to it, drinking the tea habitually.

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