Phytochemicals As Cancer Fighters
Phytochemicals are non nutritive plant chemicals that contain protective and disease preventing compounds. More than 900 different phytochemicals have been identified. It is estimated that a single serving of vegetables may have more than 100 different phytochemicals. Some, such as Digitalis and Quinine have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Some Phytochemicals reduce oxidative stress, others dampen inflammation, detoxify contaminants and pollutants, and some activate enzymes that block the uncontrolled division of cells, and some make it easier for nutrients to pass through cells.
Some of the best known phytochemicals are the flavonoids which grow naturally in broccoli, carrots, peppers, soybean, tomatoes, tea, red wine, citrus fruits, onions, apples and grapes. Flavonoids may protect against cancer.
Apples and onions constituted the biggest source. In a study, regular apple-eaters had the lowest risk of lung cancer overall—68 percent lower than people who ate the fruit infrequently.
Indoles another kind of phytochemical are found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and brussels sprouts and may offer protection against host of chronic diseases.
Other phytochemicals are Carotenoids and Isoflavones.
Beta-carotenes, the best known carotenoids give colour to carrots and other orange, red and yellow produce and are converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Lutein and Zeaxanthin (from green vegetables) and Lycopen (from Tomatoes) many protect against coronary artery disease, cataract, macular degeneration and cancer.
are plant estrogens – soy foods are a rich source and have same effect as estrogen. The benefits may be lowering of blood lipids, decrease risk of hormone related cancers of breast, ovaries, endometrium and prostrate, relief from menopausal symptoms.
Some important Phytochemicals containing food
|Contain Indoles and Isothiocyantes. These may help in trigerring enzymes that may act to block carcinogenic damage to the cell DNA.|
|Orange, Grapefruits and Lemon||Vitamine C and Flavonoids act as antioxidants which can inhibit cancer cell growth.|
|Soya Products in soya beans and soya milk||Contain Isoflavones. Diet high in these are associated with lower rates of cancers of Breast, Uterus and Prostate.|
|Garlic & Onion||Contain sulphur compounds which triger enzymes that helps to excrete carcinogens from the body.|
|Tomatoes||Contain Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant. Diet high in tomatoes is associated with decreased risk of cancer of stomach, colon and prostate.|
|Carrots, Sweet Potatoes||Contain alpha and beta carotene which protects against the environmental pollutants|
|Beans, Oats, Barley,Whole wheat||Contain Saponins|
|Ginger, Mint and Turmeric||Contain Gingerols|
Combination of antioxidants are needed for a complete, healthy diet and that it’s best to get these nutrients from foods rather than supplements