Drinking Green Tea May Reduce the Risk of Ovarian Cancer.
Population based studies have found an inverse relationship between the drinking of green tea and the development of ovarian cancer in women. Further research conducted in laboratories indicates that the compounds which are most likely to be responsible for this effect are EGCg and ECG, two antioxidants present in large quantities in green tea.
A report published in May of 2010 is the last in a series of population-based studies linking green tea to a reduced risk of ovarian cancers. In this study, researchers examined the case histories of 1,368 women with ovarian cancer, as well as 1,416 women who did not have the disease. The women were also given surveys asking them about their tea drinking habits. The researchers found that, after controlling for other variables, green tea drinkers were less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who did not drink tea. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that there is modest evidence to suggest that green tea is a mild ovarian cancer deterrent. However, the study could not find conclusive evidence as to the mechanism that gives green tea this property.
But various laboratory studies may throw light on this question. In one study conducted in 2006 researchers found that green tea disrupts the ability of isolated ovarian cancer cells to reproduce themselves when they are kept in laboratory conditions. Another study from the same year showed similar results, but this time testing three different compounds from green tea individually: EGCg, EC, and ECG. Each was shown to be effective in treating ovarian cancer cells but the compounds EGCg and ECG were shown to be the most effective.
Two other studies published in the last few years have also tested the effectiveness of the green tea compound EGCg in preventing the growth of ovarian cancer. Both studies—one conducted in 2004 and another in 2007 —found EGCg to be effective in this regard. The compound seems to uniformly stop the growth of multiple strains of ovarian cancer, at least under laboratory conditions.
From these several reports, we can see an obvious trend. Both laboratory based and population based studies indicate that green tea, and in particular the two compounds EGCg and ECG, seem to fight against the development and growth of ovarian cancer. This is great news for people who already consume large quantities of brewed green tea. However, it may be even better news for people who use green tea in cooking, much like some Chinese populations who use whole tea leaves in traditional dishes.
This is because both of these compounds—EGCg and ECG—are far more prevalent in whole green tea leaves than in brewed green tea. For example, there is roughly 81 times more ECG in whole green tea leaves than in brewed green tea. As for EGCg, which is considered the most important green tea compound for ovarian cancer prevention, it is present in quantities 100 times greater in whole leaves than in brewed green tea.
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