What really works to prevent urinary tract infections, night sweats, irregular periods, migraines, cancer, heart disease, and more.
Lorie A. Parch
8 of 9 | GREEN TEA (Camellia sinensis)
BEST FOR: Cancer prevention. A growing body of research suggests drinking this Asian staple may help ward off cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, many lab studies in cell cultures and animals have shown that green tea has chemopreventive properties. Two meta-analyses, one published in the journal Carcinogenesis and the other published in Integrated Cancer Therapies, found that green tea consumption may prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors, especially in the early stages. And the most recent laboratory study, conducted in China and published in the journal Frontiers in Bioscience, found that the main constituent of green tea, an antioxidant called epigal-locatechin gallate (EGCG), induced breast cancer cells to self-destruct. EGCG may work by blocking the growth of blood vessels into tumors, thus starving them of nutrients. Researchers also noted that EGCG seems to bind to a specific protein that is present in every cell of the body and prevent it from passing on signals that start the cancer-development process. (Cancer cells tend to have higher levels of this protein than do other cells.) HOW TO TAKE IT: Drink 6 to 10 cups of organic green tea a day, suggests Christine Horner, M.D., author of Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner's Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer. Also, choose caffeinated, unless you are pregnant or must otherwise limit your intake of caffeine. (A cup of green tea contains 20 milligrams, about a quarter of the amount in coffee.) "Some research has found that removing the caffeine reduces the chemoprotective potential," says Horner. SAFETY ISSUES: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, discuss caffeine-consumption limitations with your doctor. Otherwise, brew away.