Category Archives: cancers

Fighting breast cancer in the kitchen

fishWe always hear about the things we shouldn’t be doing when it comes to fighting breast cancer and other diseases and health conditions. We already know that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contribute to a greater risk of breast cancer. We’ve also heard that we should reduce our intake of red meat for the same reasons. But what should we be consuming that can help stave off breast cancer?

So tonight, FoodFacts.com wants to take a positive approach and look at some foods that help reduce our breast cancer risk.

Oily Fish
Recently, a study published in the British Medical Journal featuring data from over 800,000 participants and 20,000 breast cancer patients linked diets high in oily fish intake to a lower risk of breast cancer. Diets featuring fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel that contain high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids work to help prevent breast cancer. Other sources of omega-3s are leafy greens, flaxseed and walnuts.

Berries
Featuring ellagic acid — a phytochemical linked to the prevention of a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, berries can make a big impact on your healthy diet. Both strawberries and raspberries are high in ellagic acid, but there are no bad-for-you berries — so enjoy!

Beans and other high fiber foods
Foods high in fiber have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. In fact, for every 10 grams of fiber, breast cancer risk has been shown to decrease by seven percent. Breast cancer risk reduction in roughly a half cup of beans — that’s a pretty big benefit!

Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kale are all members of the cruciferous vegetable family. A compound called sulforaphane is linked to fighting the spread of tumors.

Dairy
Research has shown that high levels of vitamin D and calcium lower breast density. Women with high breast density have four to five times the risk of developing breast cancer. While researchers haven’t yet determined whether it’s the vitamin D or calcium in your diet that lowers breast density, they do believe that low-fat dairy can help fight breast cancer development.

Tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegetables
A colorful plate has a positive effect on breast cancer. Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids may reduce your risk of aggressive breast cancer by up to 20 percent. Carotenoids make for richly colored foods, so you’ll want to add fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe and mangos to your diet.

It’s always important to be proactive about our health. That doesn’t simply mean avoiding lifestyle habits that contribute to the risk of breast cancer. It also includes educating ourselves on the foods that can help us reduce our risks. During breast cancer awareness month, let’s get proactive and find creative and delicious ways to add the foods that can help us make a difference in our own health to the menu!

Soy and breast cancer … there’s more to the story

istock_000014130416xsmallSoy is certainly a controversial subject. And if you rely on soy as a dairy or protein substitute, you’ve undoubtedly heard and read about conflicting information regarding its health effects.

Could your daily soy lattes up your risk of breast cancer or lend a protective effect? So far, the research has been conflicting. While some studies have shown that soy can increase tumor growth at the cellular level, other research has found that soy may actually have a protective effect. However, most of what we know about this link comes from epidemiological studies (looking at broad population data), which have not been able to find a clear cause-and-effect link between soy and breast cancer.

Now, a new study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute directly compared women who took soy supplements with women who took a placebo to determine what effect soy would have on the expression of genes associated with breast cancer.

The researchers looked at 140 patients who had been recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. In the 2-3 weeks before their surgery (either a mastectomy or lumpectomy), these women were given either soy supplements (the equivalent of about four 16 oz. glasses of soy milk or four large servings of tofu) or a placebo every day. “The hypothesis was that soy food for a limited period of time could influence the behavior of already established breast cancer,” says study co-author Jacqueline Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., breast medical oncologist and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

After a few weeks, they found that some women in the soy group had high levels of genistein, a metabolite of soy, while the women in the placebo group did not. And interestingly, patients with high levels of this metabolite saw an increase in the genes associated with tumor growth. However, it’s important to note that the tumors were not actually growing better in these women.

Basically, taking a huge amount of soy in a short period of time led to changes in gene proliferation for some women with invasive breast cancer. But importantly, this didn’t lead to an actual change in the appearance or growth of a tumor, explains Bromberg. While the researchers definitely saw changes in the expression of these genes, they don’t know if this would lead to even greater changes if the women had been taking soy supplements for longer than 2-3 weeks.

So does that mean you should limit soy or avoid it completely if you have breast cancer?

Not necessarily. Like many things, soy seems to be safe in moderation, and there is definitely research showing it’s protective effects against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. That said, this study does suggest that high amounts of soy may have an effect on women who have already been diagnosed. Bromberg notes that normal amounts of soy are probably fine for women with breast cancer, but she strongly advises against taking soy supplements. Moderation in a healthy diet is key, she says.

“Our study simply says that [after taking] large amounts of soy for a short period of time, a subgroup of patients who had high levels of the soy metabolite genistein had an increase in the expression of genes involved in the growth of tumor cells,” says Bromberg. “But that did not translate to an increase in actual growth.”

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our own community have had questions about the health benefits of soy vs. possible negative health effects. This new information does help to put some of those questions to rest. The advice certainly isn’t foreign — moderation in our dietary habits is always for the best.

http://www.today.com/health/latest-soy-breast-cancer-what-you-need-know-2D80192077

Can dietary fats influence breast cancer outcomes?

breast cancer affectsDuring this Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’ll be reading all about food, nutrition and breast cancer. FoodFacts.com knows we all appreciate this important information, especially women. Understanding more about this devastating disease and what we can do to prevent it is certainly significant for millions of women worldwide. But what about how diet affects women who are being treated for the disease. Interestingly, new research reports the importance of diet in successful treatment.

A new study is suggesting that dietary fat intake may determine how effective chemotherapy will be in preventing the advancement of breast cancer.

The study showed that a diet with stearate can reduce the incidence of breast cancer metastasis to the lungs by 50% in mice inoculated with human breast cancer cells who are receiving treatment with paclitaxel compared to a diet with corn oil and a diet low in fat.

Stearate is the salt of stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid that’s high in animal fat as well as cocoa butter and shea butter. As a saturated fatty acid, it’s won’t oxidize and it will cause the production of free radicals, increasing oxidative stress.

The stearate-enriched diet also reduced the number and size of nodules in the lungs when compared with the low-fat diet. Both the corn oil and stearate diets reduced the number of mice that had any lung metastasis in comparison with the low-fat diet.

This is a fascinating study, suggesting that diet does in fact have a direct correlation with successful breast cancer treatment. We are coming to understand more and more that our diets not only influence our overall health and well being, but can also be key to preventing disease and working along side with science and medicine to help us fight them as well.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/2/Cancer/dietary_fat_affects_outcome_of_breast_cancer_0925141052.html

Panera Bread celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the Pink Ribbon Bagel

bagels[1]RightSideOctober is the month for pink ribbons and at FoodFacts.com we do want to celebrate that. In a relatively short span of time, through the efforts of medicine, research and women, breast cancer can actually be a curable disease for many. There’s still a long way to go and awareness certainly play a tremendous role in the advancements that have been made. We’re all working together on this. So Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a valuable time for everyone. And we’re happy to see so many people, companies and brands getting involved. We only wish that when they choose to become involved, they’re careful about their choices.

So for a limited time, you can “enjoy” the Pink Ribbon Bagel at Panera Bread. This is their acknowledgement of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, while we’re happy that they participate, we’re not exactly sure that this bagel was the way to go.

The nutrition facts for the Panera Bread Pink Ribbon bagel are a bit different than other comparable items. Take a look:

Calories              370
Fat                      7 grams
Sodium              430 mg

While these numbers aren’t horrible, a regular cinnamon raisin bagel has similar nutrition facts — a bit lower in calories and definitely higher in fat. It’s the ingredients here that we should really pay attention to:

Unbleached enriched wheat flour (flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, cherry flavored chunk (sugar, palm kernel and palm oil, whole milk powder, cherry powder, natural flavor, soy lecithin [emulsifier], salt), cherry flavor infused cranberries (cranberries, sugar, cherry juice concentrate, citric acid, natural cherry flavor with other natural flavors, elderberry juice concentrate, sunflower oil), sweetened dried cherries (dried red tart cherries, sugar, rice flour, sunflower oil), bagel base (sugar, salt, malted barley flour, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, molasses powder [molasses, wheat starch], yeast, soybean oil, ascorbic acid, enzymes [wheat]), brown sugar, honey, vanilla flavor (water, propylene glycol, alcohol, artificial flavors, caramel color), yeast (yeast, sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid), palm oil shortening.

We’re not particularly thrilled with this. Multiple instances of natural flavors, propylene glycol, artificial flavors, caramel color doesn’t exactly add up to our idea of a an ode to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Maybe it’s just us, but we do think that any food introduction that’s meant to honor this important month would be better with a clean ingredient list … especially with the recent research regarding certain ingredients and cancers (not to mention nutrition and cancers). Ingredients aside, it IS important to mention that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Pink Ribbon Bagels will go to breast cancer research. And, regardless of the ingredients, we ARE a big fan of that. We’re just going to donate to the cause, without eating the bagel. Sorry, Panera Bread.

https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/menu-categories/bagels-and-spreads.html#pink-ribbon-bagel

Obesity link in cancer

Cancer &-fatOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so we want to spend time spotlighting new research illustrating possible nutritional links with cancer that can be of help to the FoodFacts.com community. Knowledge is power — especially when it comes to helping us avoid health conditions and disease. So let’s look at some new research that can make us more powerful in the fight against cancer.

You likely know that being overweight increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But did you know it also increases your risk for cancer?

If you didn’t, you’re not alone. While around 90% of Americans know that smoking is linked to higher rates of cancer, Dr. Clifford Hudis says, the inverse is true for obesity and cancer; less than 10% of us realize how fat is related to this chronic disease.

“Obesity is a major, under-recognized contributor to the nation’s cancer toll and is quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer,” Hudis and his colleagues at the American Society of Clinical Oncology write in a new position paper.

In fact, as many as 84,000 cancer diagnoses each year are linked to obesity, according to the National Cancer Institute. Excess fat also affects how cancer treatments work and may increase a cancer patient’s risk of death, either from cancer or from other related causes.
The key word, Hudis says, is preventable. While we can’t change the fact that we’re all getting older (incidence rates for most cancers increase as patients age), we can change our weight through diet, exercise, sleep and stress management.

In 2003, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study that included more than 900,000 American adults. Researchers followed the healthy study participants for 16 years, and found the heaviest participants were more likely to develop and die from cancer than participants who were at a healthy weight.

After their analysis, the study authors concluded that excess fat “could account for 14% of all deaths from cancer in men and 20% of those in women.”

Since then, research has simply strengthened the link between obesity and cancer. Studies have found a relationship between weight and the risk of as many as 12 cancers, says Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, including endometrial, colorectal, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancers.

A recent report published in the American Association for Cancer Research’s journal predicted the top cancer killers in the United States by 2030 will be lung, pancreas and liver — in part because of rising obesity rates.

“It’s not enough to say there’s an association between obesity and cancer. We need to know why,” Hudis says. “With the why, we can do something about it.”

Scientists are exploring several hypotheses on how excess fat increases a person’s risk for cancer. The answer may be slightly different for each type of cancer, but the encompassing explanation seems to be that obesity triggers changes in how the body operates, which can cause harmful cell growth and cell division.

Many of these changes may be linked to inflammation. In general, inflammation occurs when your body is reacting to something out of the norm — say a virus or a splinter in your foot. Obesity seems to cause chronic inflammation, which in turn may promote cancer development.

Take for example, Hudis says, hormone-sensitive breast cancers. Chemicals in the body meant to regulate inflammation also increase production of the hormone estrogen. And studies have shown excess estrogen can cause breast cancer tumors.

Fat tissue also produces hormones called adipokines, which can stimulate or inhibit cell growth, according to a fact sheet from the oncology society. If these hormones are out of balance, the body may not be able to properly fight cell damage.

Obesity can affect a cancer patient’s outcome from diagnosis to remission, Hudis says.
Obesity-related pain or unbalanced hormone levels may distract patients from the early warning signs of some cancers. Fatty tissue can also make it difficult for doctors to see tumors on imaging scans. And a late diagnosis often means a lower chance for survival.
The relationship between cancer and obesity also matters after diagnosis. Cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, may be hindered by a patient’s size. If the patient needs surgery, studies show excess fat puts them at a higher risk of complications, infections and death.

A recent study of 80,000 breast cancer patients found that pre-menopausal women with a BMI over 30 had a 21.5% chance of dying, compared to women with an average BMI who had a 16.6% chance of death.

Remaining obese as a survivor can also increase your risk of developing what’s called a secondary cancer, the authors of this new position paper say.

In general, “people should be aware that overweight and obesity, as common as they are in our population, have serious consequences,” Hudis says. “Cancer is really just another one.”

Start reducing your risk now: Stay active. Eat nutritious foods that are low in calories. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Manage your stress levels. All these behaviors will help you reach a healthy weight.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is recommending more research be done on weight loss in the cancer survivor population to determine the best intervention method — and whether losing weight after a diagnosis improves patient outcomes. The results of these future studies could help persuade insurance providers to reimburse patients for weight management programs.

There’s so much great information here that gives us all significant reasons to continue our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. So many contributing risk factors for cancer are within our own control. We do have power here and can work to make the decisions that will ultimately improve our health and well being.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/01/health/obesity-cancer-asco/

Protective benefits of eating raw garlic

FoodFacts.com is always encouraged to read new information regarding the health benefits of different natural foods. We look forward to the day that Hippocrates words, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” are even more meaningful, as continuing scientific research continues to discover how natural foods work to protect us from chronic conditions and diseases that were previously only treatable through synthetic medications that often have undesirable side effects. Today we read about new research that serves that exact purpose.

Eating raw garlic twice a week could potentially halve the risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Researchers from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China carried out a population-based case control study between 2003 and 2010, to analyze the link between raw garlic consumption and lung cancer.

The researchers collected data from 1,424 lung cancer patients, alongside 4,543 healthy controls.

Data was compiled through face-to-face interviews with the participants, who were asked to answer a standard questionnaire disclosing information on diet and lifestyle habits, including how often they ate garlic and whether they smoked.

Results of the study showed that participants who consumed raw garlic on a regular basis as a part of their diet (two or more times a week), had a 44% decreased risk of developing lung cancer.

The study authors say:
“Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer.”

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 205,974 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009.

Long-term smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, found to account for 9 out of every 10 cases of the disease.

Interestingly, when looking specifically at participants who smoked, researchers found that eating raw garlic still decreased their risk of lung cancer by around 30%.

The researchers say that the link between garlic and lung cancer prevention warrant further in-depth investigation. Previous research has also shown that consumption of garlic may have preventive properties against certain forms of cancer. A study from the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center suggested that a compound found in garlic, selenium, may possess an anti-cancer property Other research from the Medical University of South Carolina, found that organosulfur compounds found in garlic may play a part in killing brain cancer cells.

The widely used herb has also been cited as preventing and treating other ailments, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

FoodFacts.com takes special note of the idea that garlic packs a lot of health power into those little cloves. High blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and now anti-cancer properties all make garlic an herb we want to make a real effort to include more of in our diet. Pungent, flavorful and versatile, garlic can be a great addition to a myriad of different dishes and can be added raw to your own dressings and salads. Healthy herbs add a wealth of benefits to our healthy lifestyles!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264599.php

New cancer risk related to high sugar consumption

Sugar, sugar everywhere … FoodFacts.com is always seeking awareness and education about the problems related to our high levels of sugar consumption. Sugar, in a variety of forms, is added to almost every processed food and beverage product available on our grocery shelves. We’re experiencing soaring levels of obesity and diabetes, and it hasn’t altered the sugar content of our food supply.

Today we read about the results of a new study coming out of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland that has linked high sugar and fat diets with an increased risk of bowel cancer. It appears that colorectal (bowel) cancer can be positively associated with the consumption of sugary beverages, cakes, cookies, snacks and desserts.

Conducted last year using data from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, the study included 2,063 patients suffering from bowel cancer and 2,776 control participants from Scotland.

The study builds on previous research analyzing links between diet and bowel cancer, which identified two distinct eating patterns. One was a diet high in healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and the other diet was high in meat, fat and sugar.

The research team analyzed over 170 foods, including fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, as well as chocolate, nuts, chips and fruit drinks. They also looked at links between some established risks of bowel cancer, such as family history of cancer, physical activity and smoking.

Results revealed that the healthy diet was associated with a decreased risk of bowel cancer, while the high fat and sugar diet is associated with an increased risk.

While it was noted that some of the main predictors of colorectal cancer include family history and genetic risk factors, diet can actually play a very important role in its development. Previous research did link the disease with high consumption of processed links, but this new information shows a link with sugary snacks and drinks. Researchers acknowledge that the study does not show a cause and effect relationship between this type of cancer and sugar consumption, but the suggestion is certainly strong enough to indicate the need for larger studies in the future.

FoodFacts.com understands that added sugar is an unnecessary component of thousands of food products. We’re already aware of the role of added sugars in contributing to the worldwide obesity crisis and we’ve already been made aware of the unprecedented climb in instances of diabetes across the globe. Now, researchers are acknowledging a possible link between sugary foods and colorectal cancer. The majority of the sugar consumed by our population doesn’t come from our sugar bowls, it comes from products we purchase every day. While nothing may ever actually get added sugar out of our food supply, we can cut down on the sugar we consume ourselves, by preparing fresh, whole foods in our own kitchens where we can make sure our own diets our as healthy as we can make them.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263392.php

Questions about the safety of sucralose

FoodFacts.com has never been a fan of artificial sweeteners. Most are controversial, have undergone insufficient safety testing and have been linked everything from gastrointestinal disturbances to cancer. We advocate for the avoidance of artificial sweeteners and the products in which they are contained, like diet soft drinks and low-fat, reduced-calorie food products.

Splenda (the brand name for sucralose) is now joining the list of artificial sweeteners with questionable health effects. While sucralose has been deemed “safe” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for years, they are now downgrading it to “caution” after the release of an Italian animal study linking sucralose to a higher risk of leukemia. CSPI says it is waiting for the review of the study before deciding on the long-term safety grade it will finally assign for sucralose in its Chemical Cuisine guide to food additives.

The study that has called the safety of sucralose into question comes from the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy. Here, researchers fed 843 laboratory mice varying doses of sucralose daily from when they were fetuses until they died. Post-mortem examinations on the mice showed an association between the development of leukemia and lifetime sucralose consumption. The more sucralose the mice consumed, the higher their risk of leukemia.

Researchers noted that previous studies involving rats showed increases in liver and lung tumors in male animals consuming aspartame. These studies increased the health concerns regarding aspartame and have led consumers to switch from aspartame sweeteners to sucralose (Splenda). Splenda has been widely promoted as a safer alternative. Researchers believe that with this new link between sucralose consumption and leukemia, further study is urgently needed in order to assess cancer risk in humans.

The rise in rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes worldwide has led to an increase in the consumption of reduced-calorie food products and diet beverages. All of these products contain some type of artificial sweetener. They can even be found in over the counter medications. In addition, people are adding Splenda to their coffee, tea or homemade beverages like lemonade. It is often used in cooking and baking as well. The Center for Science in the Public Interest points out that while sucralose may prove to be safer than saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame potassium, this new study warrants careful scrutiny before we can be confident that the sweetener is safe for use in foods and beverages.

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is aware of the potential health effects of artificial sweeteners. This new information calling into question the safety of sucralose places yet another sweetener into the questionable category. While it’s understandable that there are many in the worldwide population who seek sugar alternatives based on health and weight concerns, it is so important for all of us to remain aware of the potential risks involved in the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Processed foods and beverages contain too much added sugar. And for those that want to avoid sugar, manufacturers have replaced it with too much artificial sweetener. We can continue to do our best to avoid both by reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists and making our best effort to prepare healthy, whole foods in our own kitchens.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262475.php

AMA now classifies obesity as a disease in the U.S.

FoodFacts.com listened intently, along with the rest of the country today, as we learned that the American Medical Association formally voted to classify obesity a disease requiring a range of medical interventions in the United States.

More than 35 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of children and teenagers are now recognized as having the disease of obesity. While the move is certainly stirring up some controversy for a variety of reasons, the intent of the AMA seems to be directed at giving doctors a broader range of options for treatment. Without this status, doctors treating obesity must instead approach it as a lifestyle condition requiring modification. Because the AMA is committed to improving outcomes, and because obesity is so commonly linked to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, this new classification is something they feel will help to arm the medical community more effectively as they tackle the epidemic.

Obesity is technically defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Normal weight is defined by a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9. More than one in three adults in our country carries a BMI over 30.

As the FoodFacts.com community is aware, there are growing bodies of research that link serious disease to this all-too-common condition. Increased risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, liver disease, sleep apnea, breathing problems, osteoarthritis, infertility and multiple types of cancer including breast, pancreas, kidney, and colon, have all been associated with the expanding obesity problem.

It is also hoped that the new classification of obesity as a disease can also help more Americans realize that unhealthy food choices combined with lack of exercise is a real threat to their health. A recent survey showed that although 70% of the population understands that obesity is linked with heart disease and diabetes, only 7 percent realized that obesity is associated with cancer. Only another 5 percent knew that both asthma and sleep apnea could be helped with weight reduction.

Classifying obesity as an actual disease may also impact new laws and insurance practices. Lap-band procedures and gastric bypass surgeries aren’t always covered by insurers. The reclassification may help to change that. In addition, patients may become more comfortable with their doctor prescribing treatment for the disease of obesity. As an actual disease treatment may not be considered offensive or embarrassing, leaving the patient feeling poorly about unhealthy lifestyle choices.

While the new classification seems to be stirring up many emotions across the internet, FoodFacts.com can’t help but feel encouraged that this major move by the AMA can help doctors treat obesity before its effects set in. It could be especially beneficial in combating childhood obesity and giving the youngest in our population a better opportunity to live a life free from the multitude of problems linked with the epidemic. This may prove to be an incredibly valuable step towards eradicating a problem plaguing not only the United States, but the population of the rest of the word as well.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57590063/obesity-now-declared-disease-but-risk-for-chronic-illnesses-was-no-secret/

Anti-cancer compound identified in Mediterranean Diet

FoodFacts.com has been finding fascinating health benefits linked to the Mediterranean diet for the past several months. We’re always excited by the new findings because the traditional Mediterranean diet is such a flavorful, fresh way to eat that incorporating it into your lifestyle is an easy transition for most to make. Today we found more information we wanted to share with our community.

There’s new research out of Ohio State University that links a compound that is abundant in the Mediterranean diet to eliminating the power of cancer cells to escape cell death. It appears that this compound alters a specific step in gene regulation and turns the cancer cells into normal cells that will die.

One of the reasons that cancer is a difficult disease to cure is that cancer cells thrive by inhibiting the regular cell death process. The researchers from Ohio State discovered that a compound found in some plant-based foods, apigenin, could re-educate breast cancer cells, leaving them to live and die by the regular cell lifecycle.

Though finding that apigenin can influence cancer cell behavior was an important outcome of the work, the researchers noted the importance of their new biomedical research technique and its contribution to nutraceutical research. The technique was compared to “fishing” for human proteins in cells that interact with molecules available in the diet.

Through experimentation, the researchers established that apigenin has relationships with proteins that have specific functions. The most important was a protein called hnRNPA2. It appears that this protein influences the activity of messenger RNA, which contains the instructions to produce a specific protein. The production of messenger RNA results from splicing RNA. It is noted that abnormal splicing is the problem with about 80 percent of all cancers. It appears that in cancer cells, two types of splicing occur when only one takes place in a normal cell. It’s an integral part of how cancer cells stay alive and continue to reproduce instead of following the normal cell lifecycle.

When apigenin was introduced, the splicing that inhibited cell death was eliminated. The single-splice characteristic was restored to the cells, causing them to die in a natural manner.

Parsley, celery and chamomile tea are the most common sources of apigenin, but it is found in many fruits and vegetables. Since the Mediterranean Diet is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, the compound is most readily available through this particular style of eating.

FoodFacts.com is once again thrilled by the knowledge being uncovered about the powerful health benefits that come to us through pure, fresh foods. It’s exciting to imagine a future where nutraceuticals become the chosen treatments for the chronic and often fatal diseases that plague so many in our population. In the meantime, the Mediterranean Diet is rich in many health benefits. It’s easy to incorporate into your lifestyle and allows for an abundance of food options. You’ll enjoy your food. You won’t be bored with your diet. And you’ll be doing something positive for your health!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520154303.htm