For Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Can green tea help reduce the risk factors for breast cancer? A study recently published in Molecular Food & Nutrition Research examined the relationship between the consumption of green tea and breast cancer. Green tea has been associated with lowering circulating estrogen levels and may be one of the many mechanisms to reduce cancer risks. Green tea is just one of hundreds of herbal remedies used in Chinese medicine and as part of a healthy lifestyle through out Asia. Interestingly, Asian women have the lowest incident of breast cancer in the world.
Green tea has been evaluated for it's protective factors in connection with cancer in many studies. Tea polyphenols have been shown to prevent the binding of estrogen to its receptors in breast cancer cells. Green tea is rich in tea catechins―epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC), and epicatechin gallate (ECG)―which possess cancer chemoprotective attributes. EGCG also has exhibited steroid hormone activities, which may influence breast cancer risk through hormonally mediated pathways.
In addition, two Japanese studies suggested that women with stage I and stage II breast cancer who drank 4 oz of green tea daily had lower risk of recurrence of breast cancer.
Even though the evidence is inconclusive for many women who are at high risk for breast cancer drinking a cup of green tea each day is one simple, inexpensive option. Changing life styles to prevent breast cancer is clearly one answers all of us should consider. Green tea has so many other benefits, why not add it to your diet?
Wu AH, Butler LM. Green tea and breast cancer. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Jun;55(6):921-930.