Some new research has discovered that antioxidants called flavonoids that are commonly found in tea and citrus fruits have some powerful anti-cancer properties.
The findings were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stating that women who regularly consume citrus foods and tea can significantly decrease their risks of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Epithelial cancer is the most common form of the disease, and is characterized by the cancer beginning its growth on the surface layer that covers the ovary.
The study was quite an extensive one, taking place over a three-decade period and following the dietary habits of 171,940 women between the ages of 25 and 55 throughout those years.
The researchers found that women were less likely to develop ovarian cancer when they regularly consumed sources of flavanols and flavanones from sources like red wine, tea, apples, grapes, citrus fruits and juices. The reasoning behind this finding may be due to the fact that the flavonoids can adjust cellular signaling pathways, which can regulate cancer inflammation pathways.
This is the first large-scale study that looked into the connection and it was a very important if not necessary one. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer cause in women and affects 20,000 women in the U.S. a year, and 6,500 in the UK.
The study was lead by professor Aiden Cassidy from the Department of Nutrition at UEA’s Norwich Medical School. She shared:
“We found that women who consume foods high in two sub-groups of powerful substances called flavonoids — flavonols and flavanones — had a significantly lower risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. The main sources of these compounds include tea and citrus fruits and juices, which are readily incorporated into the diet, suggesting that simple changes in food intake could have an impact on reducing ovarian cancer risk. In particular, just a couple of cups of black tea every day was associated with a 31% reduction in risk.”
The researchers did find it important to note that the study had some limitations. For one thing, they kept track of flavonoids based on the USDA’s databases, but the actual amount of flavonoids can vary dramatically in foods based on things like the conditions of growing the food and how the food is processed.
Even though they admit that there might have been some confounding factors at play having to do with the risks of developing ovarian cancer, they are fairly confident that the study is accurate.
Other research has suggested that a diet high in flavonoids can also reduce the risk of breast cancers, colon cancers, and aggressive prostate cancer. No matter how strongly accurate these findings actually are, adding more antioxidants to your diet through natural food sources certainly won’t hurt and doing so is quite easy as most Americans have easy access to some of the suggested foods.