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Green Tea And Hormone Related Cancers
Itís beginning to become apparent to the medical community that drinking green tea has many health benefits, including the prevention of cancer. This is incredibly exciting news, particularly since cancer is one of the most insidious and feared diseases in our society today.
Almost 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and about 500,000 people will die from cancer this year. In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, after heart disease. If cancer rates stay the same as they are today, one in four of us will die from this disease.
Many cancers are preventable by making lifestyle changes. For example, 80% of all cases of lung cancer occur in those who smoke. And, most cases of skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer, could be prevented by protecting yourself from the sun. Many other cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle; maintaining a normal weight, getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods.
But, it also seems clear that green tea may be effective at helping to prevent all sorts of cancers. Green tea is loaded with an anti-oxidant known as EGCG, and it has proven to be one of the most potent anti-oxidants of all. Anti-oxidants are critical to our health because they fight free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen containing molecules that are created as part of the conversion of food to energy.
When free radicals are not neutralized they damage our cells and DNA. Over time, this leads to aging and many diseases like cancer. Therefore, eating a diet rich in anti-oxidants is a great way to protect your health. Blueberries, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes and pomegranates are great anti-oxidant sources. But, green tea is just as potent as the most anti-oxidant rich fruit or vegetable.
Green tea is simple to add to your diet. Itís inexpensive and available in many forms. You can brew your own from loose tea or teabags, or you can buy already bottled green tea. Green tea is just as healthy whether you enjoy it hot or iced, and retains its healthy benefits even when you add milk.
Green tea has become popular flavored with other fruits, so no matter what flavors you enjoy, you can likely find a green tea to suit you. No other beverage is as easy to find and has such potential for preventing cancer as green tea.
One particular area of interest regarding green teaís cancer preventing qualities revolves around hormone related cancers, like breast cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. For example, we know that a post-menopausal woman is at a higher risk for breast cancer if she continues to have high circulating hormone levels. This is the reason why women who use estrogen therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause are at a greater risk for cancer than those who do not use estrogen.
And, we know that a high level of testosterone in the blood causes prostate cancer to grow more quickly. As for ovarian cancer, it is also believed that the circulating hormone levels are related to a higher risk for developing the disease.
One study, reported by the UK Tea Council, looked at the many bodies of research on hormone related cancers, and how green tea might affect the risk of these cancers. This report shows that many studies have suggested that green tea has the ability to lower circulating hormone levels in the body, thereby likely reducing the risk of hormone related cancers.
Much of the research performed to date has been on laboratory mice, so much more research is needed on humans in order to really determine how tea affects circulating hormone levels. Human studies often lag far behind animals studies in health areas because they are more difficult to perform, and can take many years to understand results.
There have, however, been some studies on humans and how their circulating hormone levels are affected by tea. One study looked at post menopausal women who drank green tea, compared to those who drank black tea and those who were not tea drinkers at all. This study concluded that green tea, but not black tea, had a significant lowering effect on womenís circulating estrogen level. We know that a high circulating estrogen level after menopause increases the breast cancer risk.
Itís certain that more research is required, but it does seem that green tea holds a great deal of promise for cancer prevention, particularly in hormone related cancer. And this is significant in itself. For men, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer. For women, breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer, and ovarian cancer is the eighth most common.
So, as you can see, finding a clear way to prevent these cancers would be a significant finding, indeed. And, if the prevention method is something as simple as drinking green tea, it would be easy to see that the prevention method made it out to the masses. So, clearly, as citizens, we should push the healthcare community for more research and more information on green teaís benefits.
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