Higher intake of tea consumption may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.

This revelation was made by Raul Zamora-Ros, Principal Investigator at the Unit of Nutrition and Cancer at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Spain on April 26 at the Sixth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health which was held virtually. The symposium was organised by The Tea Council of the USA.

“While more research needs to be done to determine the exact dosage, the conclusion we can share is that higher intakes of tea consumption may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer,” says Raul Zamora-Ros,  Principal Investigator at the Unit of Nutrition and Cancer at IDIBELL.

Leading nutrition scientists from around the world met at the symposium to present the latest evidence supporting the role of tea in promoting optimal health.

There has been a growing interest in the relationship between tea consumption, health promotion and disease prevention with over 9,000 publications now in the scientific literature.

With new findings from the international scientific community consistently lending credibility to tea’s healthy properties, speakers at the Sixth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health provided a comprehensive update of recent research on the benefits of tea consumption on human health.

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world next to  water. All teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is for most part, uniquely found in tea.

In examining existing data on tea and cancer prevention, higher intakes of tea consumption may reduce the risk of some cancers. “There is evidence that tea flavonoids may act via antioxidant, anti-angiogenesis, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms as well modifying the profile of gut microbiota. Tea is a beverage rich in flavonoids, which are bioactive compounds with several anticarcinogenic properties in experimental studies. Suggestive evidence indicates tea consumption may reduce risk of the biliary tract, breast, endometrial, liver, and oral cancer,” he said.

“There is a growing body of research from around the world demonstrating that drinking tea can enhance human health in many ways,” said symposium chair, Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, an active Professor Emeritus in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

“True teas – which include black, green, white, oolong, and dark – can contribute significantly to the promotion of public health. Evidence presented at this symposium reveals results – ranging from suggestive to compelling – about the benefits of tea on cancer, cardiometabolic disease, cognitive performance, and immune function.”

 Tea contains flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties. Tea flavonoids provide bioactive compounds that help to neutralize free radicals which may damage elements in the body, such as genetic material and lipids, and contribute to chronic disease. Tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is for the most part, uniquely found in tea.

“Tea may help support your immune system and increase your body’s resistance to illnesses,” says Dayong Wu associated with the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory in the USDA Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “In the event, you do become sick, tea can help your body respond to illness in a more efficient way by ridding itself of the infection and may also alleviate its severity when they happen.”

When it comes to cognitive function, it turns out tea may offer significant benefits. “There is strong evidence that tea and its constituents seem to be beneficial under conditions of stress. The most profound cognitive domain that tea seems to act upon is attention and alertness,” explains Louise Dye, Professor of Nutrition and Behaviour at the University of Leeds.  “With these effects on attention, tea is an optimal beverage of choice during a time of elevated stress and burnout worldwide.”

 Recent high-quality data from long-term, prospective cohort studies indicate that higher intakes of tea – starting at as little as 1 cup daily and up to 5 to 6 daily – are associated with reduced risk for dementia.

“This bountiful beverage is one which consumers can easily add to better their diet and create a healthier and longer life for themselves,” explains Taylor Wallace, Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University.

Also read: When you eat matters: How eating rhythms impact mental health



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