Women who drink black tea have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. That is the finding of a Swedish study that followed 61,000 women between the ages of 46 and 76 for 18 years.

"We find a strong inverse association," says Susanna Larsson, a PhD candidate at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm. "Those who drank two or more cups of tea day, had almost a halt in the risk of ovarian cancer compared to those who never drank tea."

Ms. Larsson says chemical compounds in tea act as strong antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce cancer cell growth, while bolstering the body's immune system against disease.

The women tea drinkers in the study had a 46% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. Each cup was associated with an 18% lower risk.

But before switching to black tea, Susanna Larsson suggests that consumers follow the updated research. "There is the need for more studies to confirm our results," she says. "If they are confirmed maybe we should recommend women to consume more tea."

Ovarian cancer principally affects middle and upper class women in industrialized nations. In the United States it is the fifth cause of cancer death among women and the leading cause of death from all types of gynecologic cancer.