While coffee has always been made out to be the more harmful of warm beverages, with its saturated caffeine content and the related health issues, researchers are now turning an eye towards coffee’s more unassuming cousin, tea and are discovering that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this staple of morning breakfasts and afternoon recoveries.
A new research conducted by researchers from the University of Glasgow, publishing their work in the journal, Nutrition and Cancer has found that men who are heavy drinkers of tea are at risk of developing prostate cancer. The research found that those men who were drinking more than seven cups of tea day had a 50 per cent higher chance of developing cancer of the prostate compared to those men who were moderate drinkers or who drank no tea at all.
The study tracked the health of some 6,000 volunteers, aged between 21 to 75 for a period of 37 years, from 1970 to determine the results and found that those who did drink tea heavily were at risk of developing prostate cancer.
Speaking about the study, lead researcher, Dr Kashif Shafique of Glasgow University’s Institute of Health and Well Being told the BBC, "Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea. 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. We found that heavy tea drinkers were more likely not to be overweight, be non alcohol-drinkers and have healthy cholesterol levels. 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."
The 6,016 male volunteers who did take part in the study were asked, by means of a questionnaire to give details about their lifestyle such as alcohol, tea and coffee consumption, and were put through a screening examination. A quarter of the sample taken were seen to be heavy drinkers of tea and it was seen in the subsequent development of 37 years that 6.4 per cent of these volunteers did develop prostate cancer however the study has noted that it was not sure whether tea could be considered a risk factor or that the volunteers themselves had reached an age when cancer was more likely to happen.
Commenting upon the research, Dr Kate Holmes, of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said, "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. 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."