Fruit and veggies and cancer prevention

November 20, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

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Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. And tumor cells develop resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. This resistance to chemotherapy is the leading cause of death in cancer patients.

There’s some good news though. Researchers at the University of California at Riverside may just have found the way to beat chemotherapy resistance in a very simple way – by sticking to a healthy diet!

The researchers report that intake of apigenin, a naturally occurring substance found in fruit and vegetables makes cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy.

Here is how apigenin works:

Normally, cells have low levels of p53 diffused in their cytoplasm and nucleus. When DNA in the nucleus is damaged, p53 moves to the nucleus where it activates genes that stop cell growth and cause cell death. In this way, p53 ensures that cells with damaged DNA are killed. In many cancers, p53 is rendered inactive by a process called cytoplasmic sequestration. Apigenin is able to activate p53 and transport it into the nucleus, resulting in a stop to cell growth and cell death.

Apigenin occurs naturally in your common fruit and vegetables, such as:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Parsley
  • Artichoke
  • Basil
  • Celery

It is also found in nuts and plant-derived drinks such as fruit juices and wine.

However, you may ask, what can a cancer patient do when the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy unable him/her to take in healthy solid food?

This time it is researchers at the University of California at Davis which give the answer. If can drink your fruit in the form of fruit juices, why not drink your vegetables? The study indicates that “drinking your vegetables may be a solution to bridging the vegetable gap.”

This recommendation is not only for patients but for everybody who wants to stay healthy. According to the American Dietitic Association, 7 out of 10 adults do not meet the daily recommended vegetable intake as recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Does drinking vegetables help?  Well, the study suggests it does. The most common barriers to vegetable intake are:

  • Convenience – buying, peeling, slicing vegetables are not so convenient for people constantly on the move. That’s why people tend to opt for vitamin supplement pills whose health benefits are controversial.
  • Portability – now, who would carry a cucumber or carrot in his/her laptop bag? And what about shelflife?
  • Taste – Not all vegetables are palatable to everybody. Ask any mom with littke kids.

The researchers believe that drinkable vegetables might overcome these barriers. “Changing dietary behavior is much more effective when dietary advice is complemented with tangible, real, easy and convenient solutions.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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