Is There an Anticancer Diet?
Eating Certain Fruits and Vegetables May Decrease Cancer Risk and Even Stop Its Growth
Dec. 6, 2007 -- Certain fruits and vegetables may
reduce your risk of cancer and may even help stop cancer in its tracks,
according to new research.
While there's not really an "anticancer diet," eating plenty of
certain fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of getting cancer,
researchers reported today at the American Association for Cancer Research's
Sixth Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention
Research in Philadelphia.
Their findings confirm and strengthen previous research that have linked a
high intake of fruits and vegetables with a reduced cancer risk.
On the most recent "A" list: black raspberries for warding off
esophageal cancer and raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli for preventing
Despite the new findings, there are no "magic" foods, says Laura
Kresty, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at the Comprehensive Cancer
Center at Ohio State University, Columbus, and one of the presenters. "The
big take-home message is, eat a variety [of fruits and vegetables]. Eat what is
in season. The real goal is to try to increase your overall consumption of
fruits and vegetables and the proportion of your diet that is made up of a
Black Raspberries May Reduce Esophageal Cancer Risk
Eating black raspberries may protect people at high risk of getting cancer
of the esophagus, Kresty and her colleagues found. They had previously
found that black raspberries in animal experiments inhibit cancers of the oral
tract, esophagus, and colon.
The fruit probably does so, she says, by reducing oxidative stress -- the
destruction done to cells by free radicals -- and by decreasing DNA damage and
the growth rates of cells.
They decided to expand the study to high-risk patients with a precancerous
condition in the esophagus called Barrett's esophagus. Those with the condition
have a 30 to 40 times higher risk of getting esophageal cancer, Kresty says.
The cancer is deadly, with only a 15% five-year survival rate.
In the study, 20 patients ate an ounce or an ounce and a half (more for the
men) of freeze-dried black raspberries daily for 26 weeks. "We measured
markers for oxidative stress," Kresty says. One of those is a substance
called 8-Isoprostane, which is excreted in urine.
"At the end of the study, 58% of the patients had marked declines in the
8-Isoprostane," reflecting less oxidative stress.
The researchers also looked at tissue levels of an enzyme called GSTpi,
which helps detoxify carcinogens. They found that 37% of patients had an
increase in this protective enzyme.
The fruit "appears protective," Kresty tells WebMD, although the
study did not include long-term follow-up to see if fewer people actually got
Black raspberries, she says, are found in some grocery stores. "More
commonly they are the type you pick," she says.