I became a fan of tea when I studied at Oxford University in college. My first cream tea was an unforgettable experience. Flaky scones, fresh cucumber sandwiches, petit fours and chocolate dipped strawberries accompanied the warm tea sweetened with sugar and thick cream. How was life ever going to be the same? I’d never been a coffee drinker, but I became a lover of tea that winter. A cup of warm tea with a sugar cube and a douse of cream gave me the energy I needed to make it through many-a novel when my eyes were getting heavy with sleep—and a bit of boredom!
Now, tea shops always catch my attention, and I like to try new flavors and varieties. Green tea, black tea, bubble tea or chai tea, I drink them all. I like giving and receiving tea as gifts, and I always have a stash of tea in my pantry. My children love tea too, and they sometimes ask for tea instead of juice for breakfast. I think tea is a comfort beverage that just makes you feel good inside.
So tea aficionados, here is great news for you: if you love a good cup of herbal tea, you may be preventing colon cancer. People who drink herbal tea at least once a week may have a reduced risk of distal colon and rectal cancer. A research team studied the effects of hot coffee, iced coffee, herbal tea and black tea on the risk of proximal colon, distal colon and rectal cancers. Researchers noted the type, frequency and amount of beverage consumed. Pathology reports helped accurately determine the origin of cancer in the large bowel.
Researchers collected data from a case-controlled study from Western Australia between the years of 2005 and 2007. The findings suggested that drinking black tea with or without milk, green tea, decaffeinated coffee and milk had no effect on colorectal cancer risk. In fact, this study found that hot coffee was linked to an increased risk of distal colon cancer (but this was inconsistent with other research). However, drinking herbal tea at least once per week could be healthy for the colon.
More research needs to be conducted on other factors besides herbal tea that could affect colon cancer risk. It could be that herbal tea drinkers eat a healthier diet than those who do not drink herbal tea. Individuals who drink herbal tea often do drink tea for their health’s sake, and they may also make wiser food choices (Source: University Herald).
Other research suggests that white tea and green tea could be beneficial in preventing colon cancer. Of all the types of tea, white tea has the highest levels of antioxidants and polyphenols (cancer prevention compounds). This is because white tea is the least processed of all teas. Green tea is the second least processed. White tea is sometimes difficult to find, but certain varieties can usually be purchased at specialty tea shops. Green tea, however, is quite easy to find in grocery stores and is very accessible to everyone (Source: Web MD).
Although tea might not be your “cup of tea,” there are so many different varieties that there is really something for everyone. Herbal teas come in so many different flavors. They can complement desserts, be put over ice for a refreshing iced tea, or be a great way to warm your hands and stomach on a cold day. Whether you try herbal, white or green tea, why not try a cup of tea per week for the sake of your colon? Let’s all raise a cup to good health and enjoy a new flavor in our mug!