Green tea can fight cancer,
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Victoria Fletcher : GREEN TEA could be
a far more powerful medicine than previously thought in fighting off Alzheimer’s
and cancer, experts have claimed.
Scientists were astounded at how effectively compounds within the drink, once
they reached the gut, protected cells from attack.
The green tea not only battled against toxins that allow plaques to build up in
the brain, which lead to Alzheimer’s, but it also stopped cancer cells from
The research by Newcastle University was carried out only on cells in a
laboratory – but scientists insist this provides an insight into how the tea
will work in our bodies.
Ed Okello, from the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Development, said: “What was really exciting about this study was that we found,
when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are
actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer’s development than the
undigested form of the tea.
“In addition, we found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties,
significantly slowing down the growth of the tumour cells which we were using in
Many companies make health claims about foods by testing their ingredients on
cells in the lab.
But this rarely takes account of what happens to these ingredients during
digestion, when their structure can be fundamentally altered.
This study, published in the journal Phytomedicine, involved green tea going
into an artificial bowel to see what compounds would be absorbed. Experts then
used these remnants of green tea and tested them on human cells that replicate
those found in patients with dementia and cancer.
The only problem with the results is the huge amounts of green tea that would
have to be drunk to gain the same effects.
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But Dr Okello said this would not stop him speaking out in support of the drink.
He added: “There are many factors that together have an influence on diseases
such as cancer and dementia – a good diet, plenty of exercise and a healthy
lifestyle are all important.
“But it’s fair to say that at least one cup of green tea every day may be good
for you and I would certainly recommend it.” Last night charities said the
research backed previous studies that have suggested the ancient Chinese remedy
can protect against dementia.
But they insisted more research was needed to understand exactly how much people
should drink in order to gain these benefits.
A spokeswoman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “The researchers used a far
higher dose of the active green tea chemical than would ever be found in the
“More research is needed to see whether green tea is protective at a much lower
dose and to understand the mechanism involved.
“Antioxidants, found in fruit, vegetables and green tea, should be part of a
normal healthy diet.”