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The power of caffeine and pale tea

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5:50pm, October 1, 2002

From San Francisco, at the spring national meeting of the American Chemical Society

For years, researchers have been extolling green tea as a natural source of compounds that appear to fight cancer by protecting DNA. Now, scientists have identified a relatively rare tea that may offer DNA even more protection. The surprise: Some share of this brew's anticancer activity may result from its caffeine content, about twice that of green tea.

Known for its pale hue and delicate flavor, white tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, as green and other true teas. What distinguishes white tea is the buds that it contains and the way that it's processed—steamed, rather than fermented or roasted. Many of the plant's potent cancer fighters, its polyphenol antioxidants, "become oxidized or destroyed as green tea is further processed into oolong and black teas," explains Roderick H. Dashwood of Oregon State University in Corvallis. White tea undergoes

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