Today's Topic: Flavonoids Fight Lung Cancer
Flavonoids are chemicals widely distributed in plants. There are numerous variations of them, and it is estimated we eat about a gram a day. While many of them act as antioxidants, they have several other biological effects, mostly related to altering enzymes of metabolism and cell growth. A recent study from Hawaii suggests that consumption of certain flavonoids cuts the risk of lung cancer in half.
Almost 600 people with lung cancer and an equal number of controls were interviewed. According to the January 19, 2000 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, high consumption of onions, apples, and white grapefruit were associated with significantly less lung cancer. Most of the effect was attributable to onions reducing a specific type of lung cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
Here's what you need to know: We don't really know what compounds in these foods were protective; just that high intake of the foods worked. As research asks more sophisticated questions, we are learning that lumping all types of tumors of a particular organ is not correct and lumping all types of foods rich in flavonoids is equally incorrect. Consumption of broccoli, soy products, red wine, and green or black tea had no beneficial effect on lung cancer in this study. These foods, which are rich sources of flavonoids, may be beneficial against other conditions. This study also suggests the antioxidant effect of flavonoids is not connected to the health outcomes.
Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute Read More.
Diet Rich In Polyphenols May Reduce The Risk Of Chronic Disease
According to researchers at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, Korea a diet rich in a class of bioflavonoids called polyphenols (active compounds responsible for the colors found in fruits and vegetables) may reduce the risk of chronic disease by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to the excessive generation of free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that can cause negative effects in the body. Nineteen healthy female non-smokers ages 19-21 participated in the study. Two dietary interventions were given, polyphenol-rich and -depleted, lasting six days each, separated by a three-day break. Blood and urine samples were collected at baseline, day three and day six and were analyzed for a variety of indicators. The results of their analysis led them to conclude that polyphenol-rich diets may decrease the risk of chronic diseases by reducing oxidative stress. Read More.