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Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second highest type of cancer occurrence and death for men and women in the United States combined. Well over 100,000 cases are diagnosed annually.
If it feels like we don’t hear enough discussion about colorectal cancer, given its preponderance in the United States, you are probably right.
A cancer that is that devastating deserves to have some attention paid to its demise. Let’s see if there are any natural compounds we can employ today to aid in prevention.
What About Green Tea?
Green tea is easily accessible, convenient to include in a daily diet, and has an astounding array of health benefits.
These benefits include green tea’s:
- Extremely high antioxidant capacity
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Ability to boost metabolism and aid in weight loss
- And even a high concentration of chlorophyll (when in the form of matcha), which can help to boost and build blood and detoxify the body.
That’s a pretty great list on its own.
But what about the big dog in the room? Does it have any anti-cancer properties? Specifically, does it have any ability to help prevent colorectal cancer?
Green Tea vs. Colorectal Cancer Study
A study published in the June 2007 publication Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention sought to find some concrete evidence of green tea’s ability to fight cancers, in this case colorectal cancer in women.
So ladies, pay attention.
The study’s authors noted that teas and many of its constituents have shown anti-cancer capabilities in many in vitro and animal studies but epidemiological studies had been lacking. So they put together a massive cohort of over 69,000 Chinese women between the ages of 40-70 and assessed their tea consumption at the beginning of the study as well as in a follow up survey two to three years later.
The results were pretty amazing. They found that, among the study participants evaluated, there was a 37 percent reduction in risk of colorectal cancers in those women who drank green tea regularly at the baseline compared to those who did not.
What is perhaps more amazing is the finding that that those who reported to consistently drink green tea at the baseline and at the time of the follow up survey had the most pronounced reduction in risk at 57 percent! This falls in line with their discoveries regarding how the amount of tea consumed and duration of tea drinking had a greater impact on risk reduction.
The researchers found that each increase of 1.67g (about the amount in a bag of tea) resulted in a 10 percent reduction in risk, and each additional five-years of consumption also resulted in a 10 percent reduction in risk. Therefore, it stands to reason that those who drank green tea the most regularly and for the longest duration would have the best results.
What Does This Mean for Us?
So, this means that drinking more green tea means we won’t get cancer right?
Not so fast.
Even though these findings showed a significant reduction in risk, it was not a 100 percent reduction. It should be noted that they found the tea drinkers to also consume a little more fruits and vegetables, and they exercised regularly, so those factors could have also contributed.
What all this really means is that preventing cancer is a multi-pronged effort. It is likely best to combine a number of different approaches (dietary factors, exercise, stress management, and others) to help prevent cancer, of which green tea can be a major player.
Taking it one step further, we know that matcha green tea (the powdered whole green tea leaf) has benefits that are off the charts when compared to traditionally brewed green tea. You can’t go wrong with either and it should also be noted that matcha wasn’t specifically studied here, so these results are all the effect of traditionally brewed green tea. We don’t know how matcha would have performed. If you can tolerate it and are up for it, perhaps you can try both.
I drink matcha every day and will now try to include traditionally brewed green tea as well, influenced by the results of researching for this article.
Here’s to your health!
I hope you found this information helpful! We’ll continue to report on the latest research that can help you achieve perfect health and wellness here at Pursuit of Great, so check back here often!
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