Do you have an anti-cancer diet?

Eating certain fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer and can stop its growth

Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Review by Louise Chang, MD

December 6, 2007-New studies show that certain fruits and vegetables may even help reduce the risk of cancer and stop the progression of cancer.

There is actually no “anti-cancer diet”, but eating lots of certain fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of getting cancer. Researchers reported today at the 6th International Cancer Prevention Research Frontier Conference of the American Cancer Society.

Their findings confirm and enhance previous studies linking high fruit and vegetable intake to a reduced risk of cancer.

Latest “A” list: Raw cruciferous vegetables such as black raspberries to prevent esophageal cancer and broccoli to prevent bladder cancer.

Despite the new discoveries, there are no “magical” foods, says Dr. Laura Cresty, an assistant professor of nutrition and one of the presenters at the Ohio State University at Columbus General Cancer Center. “The big message to take home is to eat a lot [of fruits and vegetables].. Let’s eat seasonal food. The real goal is to increase the overall consumption of fruits and vegetables and the proportion of diets that consist of plant-based diets. “

Black raspberries may reduce the risk of esophageal cancer

Eating black raspberries may protect people at high risk of developing esophageal cancer, Cresty and her colleagues have discovered. They previously discovered in animal studies that black raspberries suppress cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, and colon.

Fruits probably do so by reducing oxidative stress, the destruction done to cells by free radicals, and by reducing DNA damage and cell growth rates, she says.

They decided to extend the study to high-risk patients with a precancerous condition of the esophagus called Barrett’s esophagus. People with this condition are 30 to 40 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer, says Cresty. Cancer is fatal and has a 5-year survival rate of only 15%.

In this study, 20 patients ate one ounce or one and a half ounces (or more for men) of freeze-dried black raspberries daily for 26 weeks. “We measured markers of oxidative stress,” says Kresty. One of them is a substance called 8-isoprostan, which is excreted in the urine.

“At the end of the study, 58% of patients showed a significant reduction in 8-isoprostan,” reflecting low oxidative stress.

Researchers have also examined the tissue levels of an enzyme called GSTpi that helps detoxify carcinogens. They found that 37% of patients had an increase in this protective enzyme.

Fruits “look protected,” Kresty told WebMD, but the study didn’t include a long-term follow-up to see if fewer people actually had cancer. It was.

According to her, black raspberries can be found in several grocery stores. “More generally, they’re the type you choose,” she says.

Vegetables for bladder cancer prevention

Raw cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower appear to reduce the risk of bladder cancer by about 40%, researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY said at a meeting. reported. This is because it contains a compound called isothiocyanate or ITC that is thought to prevent bladder cancer.

“Raw cruciferous vegetables are superior to cooked vegetables because cooking time reduces the amount of isothiocyanates by 60% to 90%,” said Roswell Park’s postdoc, who led one of the studies. Li Tang, MD, PhD said.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research, 6th Annual International Conference on the Frontier of Cancer Prevention Research, Philadelphia, December 5-8, 2007. LauraKresty, PhD, Associate Professor of Nutrition, Ohio State University, Columbus Comprehensive Cancer Center. Yuesheng Zhang, MD, PhD, Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY Li Tang, MD, PhD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

© 2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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