While testing the effects of green tea in a model that simulated the gut and its digestion process, researchers from Newcastle University's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development found that the compounds contained in the beverage helped protect healthy cells and prevented tumor growth.
The team of scientists sought to discover whether health claims about green tea could be validated, since the drink's antioxidant properties had not been tested during or after digestion, when the body would absorb the polyphenols.
"There are certain chemicals we know to be beneficial and we can identify foods which are rich in them but what happens during the digestion process is crucial to whether these foods are actually doing us any good," said lead researcher Ed Okello.
The researchers found that the digested polyphenols were effective in protecting healthy cells and inhibiting growth in a tumor model.
Authors of the study noted that there are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to disease prevention. They said that diet, exercise and positive lifestyle choices may all contribute to optimal health.