Ladies, recent research suggests it might be time to start taking afternoon tea. In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who consumed the most flavonoids, a type of antioxidant abundant in tea, were significantly less likely to develop ovarian cancer—the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women.
Researchers reached this conclusion after analyzing the dietary habits of more than 170,000 women for three decades. But you don’t need to mainline the drink. According to their research, a couple of cups of black tea a day was associated with a 31 percent reduction in risk for this cancer.
So how does it work? ”The mechanisms aren’t completely understood, but a number of flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and have effects on cell signaling pathways,” says Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., study author and professor of nutrition at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School. It’s possible, the researchers conclude, that flavonoids induce cancer cell death.
Given that ovarian cancer is so deadly—the five-year survival rate is a dismal 45 percent—it seems smart to add tea to your drink repertoire. But if Earl Grey and English breakfast aren’t your thing, you can still gain the cancer-fighting benefit of flavonoids from other food sources, including apples, blueberries, citrus fruits, dark chocolate, grapes, red wine and onions.