A Cup Of Tea May Protect Against Skin Cancer

New findings presented by the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition at the inaugural Australian International Symposium on Tea and Health in Sydney today, have shown that tea may contribute significant protection against development of skin cancers caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The latest research with mice found those given tea (with milk) experienced a reduction in the development of skin cancer of 50 per cent and a reduction in the development of papillomas of 70 per cent.

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Currently two out of three Australians develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.

Ultraviolet radiation is present in the sun's rays throughout the year. The level of UV varies from day to day, and even on a clear day in September or April it is strong enough to burn your skin.

Tea is a rich source of special antioxidants called flavonoids, considered to be some of the most potent antioxidants in nature. Scientists believe antioxidants in the diet have an important role to play in the fight against diseases including cancer.

The important new CSIRO study examined the effect of providing tea with 10% milk, (compared to just 10% milk or just water) as the sole drinking fluid on UVA+B induced skin cancer in mice. The key finding was a significant reduction in the development of skin cancers in mice drinking tea with milk.

"These findings are significant because initially it was thought milk may bind to the flavonoids, and impact on the antioxidant properties and potential health benefits of tea. The most recent findings would suggest that the flavonoids still play a protective role in the presence of milk," said Dr Ian Record of CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition.

"Intensive research is currently underway into tea flavonoids and how they may help protect the body from potentially harmful substances called fr

Contact: DrIan Record
CSIRO Australia

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