Women’s Health Interactive Forums

  • If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.


No announcement yet.

The Grocery List for Cancer Prevention?

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
Clear All
new posts

  • The Grocery List for Cancer Prevention?

    The Grocery List for Cancer Prevention?

    By: Karen Barrow
    A garlic, broccoli sprout and sauerkraut sandwich? It sounds gross, but in fact, this may be one way to prevent some common forms of cancer.
    Four new studies, presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, provide a grocery list of foods that may help in preventing stomach, skin and breast cancer. In fact, these preliminary studies show that the chemicals in some foods directly interact with some carcinogens and the body?s own cells to provide a strong defense against would-be cancer causers.

    "[We?re] discovering more and more about the cancer-preventing properties of things we are eating." said Dr. William G. Nelson, program chairman, at a news conference. "The idea of having more fruits and vegetables in the diet has more and more evidence to support it."

    Finish Those Broccoli Sprouts
    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, is effective in fighting a dangerous bacteria and the stomach inflammation it causes.

    Patients with infections caused by the bacteria H. pylori were directed to eat 100 grams of broccoli sprouts for two months. Afterwards, patients had a significantly lowered amount of the bacteria in their stomach when compared to a group eating a similar amount of alfalfa sprouts, a relative of the broccoli sprout that is much lower in sulforaphane.

    But what does a bacterial infection have to do with cancer?

    Several studies have shown that stomach inflammation, or gastritis, is a major cause of stomach cancer, particularly when it goes unchecked over a long period of time. Broccoli sprouts prevent and reduce stomach inflammation and, therefore, may also be a weapon against stomach cancer.

    If that?s not enough, another group of researchers from Dartmouth Medical School have shown that the same compound in broccoli sprouts that protects against stomach cancer may also protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

    Researchers coated the skin of mice with highly-concentrated amounts of sulforaphane, and then exposed the rodents to UV light five days a week for 11 weeks. While the mice that did not have the sulforaphane coating all developed tumors, the amount of tumors was reduced by 50 percent in the sulforaphane-protected mice.

    "We weren?t looking for a sunscreen-effect." said study author Dr. Albena T. Dinkova-Kostova from Johns Hopkins University, "Our findings suggest a promising strategy for skin cancer prevention after exposure to UV light." So, the compound would presumably benefit those who already had some sun damage.

    It may be some time before a broccoli sprout lotion hits the shelves, but researchers from both studies believe that the compound acts to protect the DNA in cells from damage, preventing tumor formation.

    One with the Works, Extra Kraut
    Next time you pass on the side of coleslaw, you may want to reconsider. Consuming high amounts of cabbage, both raw and slightly cooked, may help to prevent breast cancer.
    Cabbage consumption is particularly high in Poland, where people eat up to 30 pounds a year of the leafy stuff. When Polish women migrate to the United States, their risk of getting breast cancer is three times higher than it would have been had they stayed in Poland. This fact lead Dr. Dorothy R. Pathak from Michigan State University to suspect that cabbage was the Polish woman?s secret to preventing breast cancer.

    To test her theory, Pathak, with researchers the University of New Mexico, looked at Polish women?s eating habits in both the United States and their native country. Ultimately, she found that those who ate raw cabbage, sauerkraut or slightly-cooked cabbage three or more times a week had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer. The highest risk reduction, in fact, was seen in women who ate high amounts of cabbage in their teens.

    Based on previous work, Pathak believes that one compound in cabbage, called glucosinolate, is responsible for preventing breast cancer. Like the chemical found in broccoli sprouts, glucosinolate, she believes, decreases the amount of DNA damage caused by carcinogens, thereby limiting cancer growth.

    But if you hate cabbage, garlic may also fight breast cancer.

    It?ll Keep the Vampires Away, Too
    Researchers have found that garlic may be just the spice to add to your burgers and steak to help fight off the carcinogens that come with grilling.

    In previous studies, researchers have shown that a compound formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures can cause breast cells to produce a cancer-causing enzyme, called PhIP. Now, researchers from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee have found that a compound responsible for garlic?s flavor, daillyl sulfide, can prevent this enzyme from forming.

    Dr. Ronald Thomas, lead study author, explained that diallyl sulfide blocked the formation of this enzyme in 100 percent of breast cancer cells. Like the compounds in cabbage and broccoli sprouts, diallyl sulfide seems to protect the DNA in the body?s cells from the damage that causes tumor formation.

    While it will be some time before researchers confirm a direct medical use for these foods, a potential weapon against cancer may be only a grocery store away.


Womens Health orange logoGet The Newsletter

Receive our passionately crafted, medically reviewed articles and insights — the stuff nobody else talks about but you want to know — delivered right to your inbox.

Latest Posts in Our Forums


Latest Topics in Our Forums