Are you a green tea lover? If not, you should listen to the researchers who agree that green tea can prevent certain types of cancer. And as today is World Cancer Day, I’m honouring a natural product that could kick cancer in to touch. Here comes the science part…

Catechins are flavonoid phytochemical compounds found in green tea, and it’s been shown that one of these catechins called EGCG – or epigallocatechin gallate – is able to slow the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting a particular enzyme called dihydrofolate reductase. Professor Roger Thorneley of the John Innes Center in Norwich, England has said that: "This is the first time, to our knowledge, a known target for an anti-cancer drug has been identified as being inhibited by EGCG".

The unique thing about EGCG is that it seems able to fight all stages of cancer. In fact, a love of drinking green tea could be one of the reasons why the Chinese have lower cancer rates. And research has also shown that it has 25 times more antioxidant power than vitamin E and 100 times more potency than vitamin C. And if you thought it couldn’t get any better, green tea also contains antimicrobial properties, which repress bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus.

Freshly-brewed tea contains approximately five times more EGCG than normal tea, but it’s not yet known how much green tea we would need to consume to obtain the full health benefits of this compound. Professor Thorneley states that green tea may contain other ingredients that have the same properties as EGCG, so we shouldn’t stop drinking it. However, it’s likely that drinking tea alone wouldn’t give us enough of the antioxidant catechins to get the full benefits. Another study in a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research has shown that it took green tea pills, equivalent to drinking 8-16 cups a day, to boost production of enzymes that reduce the toxicity of carcinogens.

Let’s kick cancer in to touch!

Anyone for a cuppa?

Sibel XX