As you may know, green tea is chock full of antioxidants that have a number of benefits for the body. In particular, it contains a potent antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a power ingredient in the fight against breast cancer. Not only does it reduce inflammation, it cuts off blood flow to breast cancer cells, and it protects your DNA. Preliminary research even suggests that in may help keep breast-cancer stem cells from developing. But there's something you can combine with green tea to make it even more powerful in the fight against cancer.
Research suggests that combining the antioxidant benefits of green tea with the cancer-fighting powers of capsaicin, found in chili peppers like cayenne or jalapeños, can effectively reduce the production and activity of breast cancer cells. I wish this were something that would taste good with green tea, but I'm not sure I can make that claim.
Capsaicin contains vitamin C and E as well as magnesium but it is it's "heat" that researchers correlate with down regulating cancer cells. It's a "vanilloid,"which research has linked to the suppression of tumor growth. In fact, countries that consume high amounts of chili peppers tend to have lower cancer rates than those that like less-spicy fare.
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Together, EGCG and capsaicin have some powerful properties. Cancer cells contain a protein called ENOX2, which your normal cells don't have. And EGCG and capsaicin block ENOX2 from doing its job. Without ENOX2, the tumor cells can't grow. Researchers used a test called the ONCOblot® to test 110 participants for the presence of ENOX2. Of these, 40% of them did indeed test positive. These participants didn't have cancer — at least, not yet — but the presence of ENOX2 suggested they were at risk. The researchers then gave them a supplement called Capsol-T®, which contains both green tea concentrate and capsaicin.
Over the course of the next three to seventeen months, the researchers retested the patients. By the end of the study, 94% tested negative for ENOX2.
Capsol-T® contains the equivalent of 16 cups of decaffeinated green tea, but it's very expensive ($150 for a one-month supply). If you're fighting cancer, it might be worth looking into. You certainly don't want to drink that much tea, especially if you aren't actively fighting cancer. If that price is too steep or if you're sensitive to capsaicin, you might want to try Green Tea Extract, which has 1,500 mg of green tea extract, but no capsaicin. And adding some jalapeños or cayenne pepper to your diet is a good idea as well.
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