Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Strongest evidence for cancer protection

Cruciferous Vegetables - e.g., broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Dark leafy greens, spinach and chard, cooked tomatoes, apples, pears and citrus all show cancer protective effects in some large studies.

Clinical trials are finding that black raspberries, blueberries and pomegranates - staving off cancer recurrence in some patients.

In the U.S>, survey data from the Department of Agriculture have shown that 52% of our overall vegetable consumption comes from iceberg lettuce, potatoes and canned tomatoes. These do not provide an array of nutrients and phytochemicals that we are needing to prevent cancer, so the research that is showing that eating 5 a day for better health is not providing the cancer protective benefits may be because people are not eating enough variety.

Also, how we eat the vegetables has an impact on effectiveness, the lycopene in tomatoes is fat-soluble and most easily enters the bloodstream when cooked or eaten with fat, as in tomato sauce. The Harvard group reconfirmed this in 2002 for 47,365 men followed for 12 years. Men who ate 2 sauce servings a week, versus less than once a month, showed a 23% reduced prostate cancer risk.

The PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer) trial found that among nearly 30,000 men followed for a little more than 4 years, those eating broccoli more than once a week had a 45% reduced prostate cancer risk, compared with men who ate it less than once a month. The evidence is showing cruciferous vegetables are among the few vegetables showing significant protection for several cancers, including bladder, lung and prostate. Unlike tomatoes, raw broccoli is better, since the anti-carcinogen chemicals called isothiocyanates, are water soluble and can be lost when cooked.

This year, the PLCO study found that, Spinach - rich source of antioxidants folate and lutein, might help ward off prostate cancer. Also, citrus fruits seem to be protective against esophageal cancer, as were spinach and tree fruits such as apples and pears.

Apples, a rich source of quercetin, anti-cancer compound, showed a protective effect against lung cancer.

Need the whole fruit and vegetable to get the benefits, lycopene didn't work, need the whole tomato. Large doses of B-carotene is dangerous, may increase lung cancer risk.

Eat your pomegranates, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes (and drink wine in moderation, 5 oz. daily), all high in flavonoids- anti-inflammatory or have pomegranate juice to lower PSA counts and black raspberries, highest concentration of polyphenol ellagic acid may help decrease risk for esophageal cancer.

Freeze-dried berries may be more beneficial that fresh for decreasing cancer risk. Have Trader Joe's triple berry O's, or granolas with freeze dried berries.

Move and groove too to help decrease cancer risk - Women who exercised 30 minutes six days per week and had high fruit and vegetable intake cut cancer recurrence by 44% (WHEL-Women's Health Living and Eating, trial).
Weight loss also key factor, close No. 2 to smoking cessation to decrease cancer risk.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables because they complement each other to attack all the different mechanisms that cancer works through.

Your Livitician, Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD

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