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Study: Green tea may lower cancer risk

October 26, 2012

Many people have made drinking green tea a part of their daily routine, and a new study suggests it could be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Canadian researchers found that older women who drank green tea enjoyed a lower risk of developing colon, stomach and throat cancers.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study focused on the health data of more than 69,000 women, approximately 19,000 of whom were regular green tea drinkers. Researchers found that those who drank green tea at least three times a week and a 14 percent lower chance of being diagnosed with certain cancers than those who did not consume the beverage. The risk was even lower if the subjects were regular green tea drinkers for a longer period of time.

While the findings are encouraging, they do raise a few issues. Chiefly, researchers can't say whether the green tea alone is responsible for the lower risk of cancer because people who drink the beverage are often healthier in general.

The study is not the first to find a correlation between drinking green tea and healthy aging. Most notably, a 2011 study from Newcastle University found that people who regularly drank green tea also protected themselves from Alzheimer's and dementia.

"Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and what we have here provides the scientific evidence why it may be effective against some of the key diseases we face today," said Newcastle's Ed Okello.

The benefits of green tea come from the high levels of the antioxidants known as flavonoids, according to the Harvard Medical School. The compound can also help seniors lower their heart disease risk and manage cholesterol.