The health problems attributed to tobacco smoking are probably no secret to anyone nowadays. What might not be so well known is the fact that tea might offer some small measure of protection against lung cancer. Ninety percent of these cases, according to some experts, can be attributed to smoking.
In 2008, cancer researchers at UCLA announced that green and black tea might be of some help in protecting smokers against lung cancer, along with certain fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids in tea are thought to help guard against damage to tissues, which may lead to lung cancer.
Researchers looked at the dietary habits of nearly 1,400 people with and without lung cancer. They found that those who ate certain foods containing flavonoids were not as likely to develop lung cancer. They also cautioned that quitting smoking is the best protection against the disease by far.
An earlier study, conducted by researchers in Hawaii also took a look at the effects of flavonoids on lung cancer, though the research was not specifically on those compounds derived from tea. In 2003, researchers in India discovered that black tea protects against cigarette smoke-induced damage in guinea pigs. A study by Korean researchers found that green tea had a chemopreventive effect in cigarette smokers but coffee did not.
In yet another study, researchers at the University of Arizona-based Arizona Cancer Center attempted to determine whether antioxidants in green tea might reduce the risk of lung cancer. The Southeastern Arizona Tea Study looked at ex-smokers aged 40 to 80, who each drank green tea for a period of six months.
Of course, as noted above, the best strategy against lung cancer is not to smoke at all or, for those who already have – to quit. This is easier said than done, naturally. For a few pointers on how to continue enjoying tea (coffee, too) after you’ve kicked the tobacco habit, refer to this article from the National Cancer Institute.
Check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks, for more information on the various health benefit claims about tea!