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Drinking Tea May Guard Against Ovarian Cancer

Consuming two or more cups of tea a day over a period of time may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer dramatically, suggests a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. And each additional cup of tea per day appears to provide significantly more protection, investigators found.

Because tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world, its potential health benefits could have important implications for human health and disease prevention, says the Tea Council of the USA.

“An abundance of research suggests that tea may play a role in the reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer,” notes Joe Simrany, president of the trade organization. “These new findings suggest that drinking tea regularly may help to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well. This is good news and points to yet another area where tea may have a positive effect on health.”

46 Percent Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk

Researchers at Sweden’s National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, examined the association between tea consumption and risk of ovarian cancer in 61,057 women 40 to 76 years of age who took part in the population-based Swedish Mammography Cohort.

The participants completed a validated 67-item food frequency questionnaire at enrollment between 1987 and 1990, and were followed for cancer incidence through December 2004.

At baseline, 68 percent of the participants reported drinking tea — primarily black tea — at least once a month. During 15.1 years of follow-up, 301 women were diagnosed as having epithelial ovarian cancer. The researchers found tea consumption of two or more cups of tea per day had a significant inverse association with risk of ovarian cancer.

Specifically, women who drank two or more cups of tea per day experienced a 46 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer, compared with women who drank no tea. Each additional cup of tea was associated with an 18 percent decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

Additional Health Benefits

A multitude of research studies suggest that drinking tea may contribute to overall health. Potential benefits include the following:

– Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, and improved blood vessel function;

– Less risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers;

– Decreased levels of oxidative DNA damage and increases in antioxidant levels in the bloodstream; and

– Oral health benefits — researchers believe certain compounds in tea may inhibit bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque, and the fluoride content in tea supports healthy tooth enamel.

Nicole Weaver is a health journalist for
Daily News Central, an online publication that delivers breaking news and reliable health information to consumers, healthcare providers and industry professionals.