Drinking at least two cups of tea daily was found to protect from developing skin cancer but scientists call for more research to support the findings.

Tea ingredients have been investigated for their activity against a variety of diseases and cancers and the most potent were found to be polyphenols. They are antioxidants that block the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.

Tea's disease-fighting properties have been found to protect the body against two most common skin cancers: Squamous cell carcinomas and Basal cell carcinomas. These cancers grow slowly over a period of months or years and are caused by excessive exposure to the sun's rays.
Scientists from the Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire in the US analyzed over 1,400 patients between ages 25 and 74 who were diagnosed with one of the two types of tumour.

The researchers took the patients diet, drinking habits and lifestyle into account and compared them to the same factors of a similar group who did not have cancer. It has been found that tea drinkers were 65% less likely to have squamous cell carcinoma and almost 80% less likely to suffer from basal cell carcinoma. The biggest benefits were seen among long-term drinkers, especially those who downed several cups a day for more than 40 years.

Although these are significant findings, more research is needed to confirm that it is the tea and not other lifestyle factors that are protecting against the illness.