Drinking Tea: Are the Health Benefits Real?

Steven Rourke

Disclosures

January 17, 2019

In This Article

Oolong Tea

In a recent study,[37] six breast cancer cell lines were treated with varying concentrations of oolong, green, black, and dark tea extracts. Investigators studied the effect of these tea extracts on cell viability, cell morphology, and DNA damage and cleavage, among other factors. Along with green tea, oolong tea extract induced DNA damage and cleavage; played an inhibitory role in breast cancer cell growth, proliferation, and tumorigenesis; and demonstrated potential as a chemopreventive agent against breast cancer.

No Firm Conclusions Yet

Current evidence points to the many potential benefits of tea drinking—some of which appear to be associated with its antioxidative properties, whereas others may simply coincide with a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, the uneven quality of the data and the diverse types of studies make it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Which teas have the strongest health benefits (or risks) and why remains unknown. Researchers still need to address many facets surrounding tea and health, including the ideal brewing methods; the addition of substances; the frequency, amount, and duration of consumption; and whether a tea leaf's health potential declines as it ages. Furthermore, a significant proportion of studies were conducted in Asian populations, where tea drinking is widespread. Future research should include more diverse populations of tea drinkers.

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