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Regular Green Tea Consumption Linked to Lowered Risk of Colon Cancer

Update Date: Nov 02, 2012 12:07 PM EDT

A new study has suggested that older women who regularly drink green tea may slightly lower their risks of contracting colon, stomach and throat cancers, when compared to women who do not take the green herb.  

According to the Canadian study that went on for a duration of 10 years and involved 69,000 Chinese women, women who have green tea at least three times a week reduce their risk of developing cancer of the digestive system by 14 percent.

The study has added to the debate of the benefits of the herb, as recent studies have shown that drinking green tea may not be helpful in reducing cancer risk, even though the extracts of the tea are believed to be beneficial.

"In this large study, tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of colorectal and stomach/esophageal cancers in Chinese women," wrote study leader Wei Zheng, who heads epidemiology at Vanderbilt University school of Medicine in Nashville, and his colleagues, according to Mail Online.

It cannot be established if green tea alone is the reason, because green tea drinkers are mostly pretty health conscious people in general.

In the current study, none of the participant women apparently drank or smoked regularly, and scientists for the study also collected data on their diets, exercise habits, weight and medical history, the report said.

In spite of taking so many factors into consideration, the link between green tea consumption and reduced cancer risk was apparent, Zheng noted.

However, the study does not establish a cause and effect relationship, even though there is "strong evidence" from lab research that green tea has the potential to combat cancer.

In the study, women who drank green tea more than three times a week were considered regular drinkers. Of the 69,000 middle-aged and older Chinese women studied in a span of 11 years, 1,255 developed a digestive system cancer.

Overall, it was found that risks of developing certain cancers were lower in women who drank green tea often for a long period of time.

Another factor to be noted is that women who consumed a lot of green tea in the study were also younger, consumed more fruits and vegetables, exercised more often and also earned well.  While researchers did adjust their study considering these factors, they said that it was practically impossible to perfectly account for everything.

The study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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