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Drinking Green Tea May Prevent This Leading Cause of Death

This may just give you more incentive to fire up the ole kettle.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham

Biologists have some good news for tea lovers: A compound in green tea may be able to help your body suppress cancerous tumors and repair damaged DNA.

While there's no surefire way to fight cancer—and certainly, no behavioral change is going to guarantee you a tumor-free life—there are still a few ways you can mitigate your risk of developing it. Some of these ways are well-known, including wearing sunscreen and skipping cigarettes. Other ways may come as more of a surprise, such as getting moving, and yes, even cutting back on the gel manicures. Now, researchers are saying you should also consider drinking more green tea.

A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound in green tea, can inhibit the processes that deactivate p53, a tumor-suppressing, DNA-repairing protein. In other words, EGCG can help your body's regulatory system do what it needs to do to fight cancer. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now).

"The study is great because it helps us find mechanisms of action for why these [green tea's health benefits] are possible," Michael Donaldson, PhD, Director of Research for Hallelujah Acres, told Eat This, Not That! in an interview.

He specifies that the study "would not by itself prompt me to start drinking green tea or taking a supplement that includes EGCG." However, in combination with other studies that have looked at green tea's effects in fighting cancer and other diseases, he concludes, "including green tea into your health regimen is a great idea." After all, it can't hurt.

For example, Donaldson points to various studies that indicate green tea's ability to protect drinkers against prostate and breast cancer, as well as studies that show the beverage can lower the risk of death from all causes. This particular study, however, provides valuable insight into just how vast green tea's health benefits are for the body.

Drinking more green tea is just one of the dietary habits that could help your body fend off cancer. For more, check out these This Type of Meat Is Linked to Increased Cancer Risk, Study Says.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more
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