London: Drinking tea has many health benefits. Now, add one more to the list -- taking a cup of the beverage daily can help slash the risk of developing cancer by shrinking tumours, say researchers.
   
Previous researches have already linked tea's healthy antioxidant properties and high flavonoid content to cutting the risk of some cancers as well as heart disease.
   
Now, a new study has shown that black tea could help prevent cancer.
   
In the study, US researchers analyzed the compound theaflavin-2 (TF-2), found only in black tea and oolong Chinese tea, which has been shown to kill cancer cells.
   
The study explored how TF-2 induced cancer cell death and found that it caused such cells to shrink within three hours. When the researchers looked at a specific set of genes that kill cancer cells, TF-2 was found to activate the genes.
   
The study also showed that TF-2 can suppress the activity of a gene that sparks an inflammatory enzyme known as COX2 while also reducing the activity of other inflammatory molecules, the daily reported.
   
Tim Bond of the Tea Advisory Panel in the UK said "The study has demonstrated that components of black tea can help shrink and kill cancer cells and/or result in helping to reduce the number of tumours.
   
"These findings suggest the need for clinical trials to evaluate the effect of black tea and its components on the risk of cancer in humans. New studies are needed to shed further light on clinical applications of black tea ingredients."

(Agencies)