Dr. Thomson discusses the relationship between green tea and cancer.
It seems to be protective and it all goes back to that oxidative stress, anti-inflammation, healthy polyphenols, and polyphenols are not just found in tea. They are found in a number of different plant foods. So one, I would say there are people who just can’t adapt to green tea and so usually what I tell them is eating a plant-rich diet is going to help, generally. So you don’t need to feel like you have to have green tea.
On the other hand, certainly it’s a habit that we’d like people to develop. If we can get people drinking more green tea, it’s kind of an adjuvant. What I tell people is it’s not a cure-all absolutely, but if you can get three or four cups of green tea in a day, then you can begin to see a protective effect in the context of a healthy diet. And many people do, I mean, we have seen huge adoption of this behavior in the American culture.
One of the questions people commonly ask me about green tea is how long, and we have a researcher at our institution, Iman Hakim, who has done some work with green tea, and what they are showing is between three and four minutes of steeping the tea will, 90 plus percent of the polyphenols will be released from the teabag. So in terms of that approach, there is some evidence from her work that icing the tea actually causes the polyphenols to conjugate around the cube, and so you may have less exposure when you ice the tea.
So there’s, you know, issues related to how you prepare it. Again, I don’t like people to obsess too much about all these things, but rather just to integrate it into their diet. If they like it–great, move forward with it. Another question a lot of breast cancer survivors will ask me about green tea and weight control, and what I tell them is, you know, we really have very little–we have a lot of mechanistic evidence that caffeinated green tea may help to control body weight.
If that’s the only behavior you take on–not going to be too helpful. But as one behavior in the context of a weight control, you know, lifestyle, it would be beneficial.
About Dr. Thomson, Ph.D., R.D.:
Dr. Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is a registered dietitian with a doctoral degree in nutritional sciences. She has been conducting cancer research since 1994. Dr. Thomson was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2003.