Green Tea as a Functional Food Against Breast Cancer: A Review
Green tea has been purported to have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, inflammatory disease and cancer. Recently, there has been considerable scientific interest in "functional foods", or conventional foods that are demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions. This article examines green tea as a possible "functional food" for breast cancer. It is believed that the bioactive compound in green tea with purported anticancer potential is the catechin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been demonstrated to have antioxidant, anti-angiogenic and apoptotic effects using in vitro models. The results from epidemiological studies conducted in human populations are not statistically significant to warrant inclusion of green tea as a functional food against breast cancer. Nevertheless, certain trends observed in these studies and results from preclinical models necessitates further research into employing green tea as a functional food for breast cancer.