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Conflicting News on the Health Benefits of Tea?

For many years, we have heard again and again that the health benefits of tea, green tea and other teas, were substantial. However, recent news from Scotland is raising some eyebrows and may warrant a bit of a rethink.

New research indicates that men who are heavy tea drinkers may be more likely to develop prostate cancer. Researchers from Glasgow University followed the health of more than 6,000 male volunteers over a period of 37 years. They determined that men who are heavy tea drinkers and who consumed over 7 cups of tea each day, had a 50% higher risk of getting prostate cancer, compared with men who are moderate or non-tea drinkers.

Conflicting News on the Health Benefits of Tea?

They did note that they did not know if tea was a risk factor, or if drinkers simply lived to ages where cancer was more common. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in Scotland and there has been an increase in prostate cancer there of 7.4% between 2000 and 2010.

The study, named the “Midspan Collaborative” study began in Scotland in 1970 and gathered data from 6,016 male volunteers, all aged between 21 and 75. About 25% of the men included in the study were heavy tea drinkers.

The study was led by Dr. Kashif Shafique of Glasgow University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing. Shafique says “Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea” and …”We don’t know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway.” He adds…”However, we did adjust for these differences in our analysis and still found that men who drank the most tea were at greater risk of prostate cancer.”

Viewing this study with some caution is Dr. Kate Holmes, the head of research at the Prostate Cancer Charity, who says… “Whilst it does appear that – of the 6,000 men who took part in this study – those who drank seven or more cups of tea each day had an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, this did not take into consideration family history or any other dietary elements other than tea, coffee and alcohol intake”… and “We would therefore not wish any man to be concerned that drinking a moderate amount of tea as part of a healthy diet will put them at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.”

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