Thursday, March 04, 2010

Potent Produce: Foods that Fight Cancer

Pistachios are high in a form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol that has been shown to be protective against certain types of cancer, including lung. Participants of a recent study who ate roughly two ounces of pistachios a day for four weeks showed a significant increase in gamma-tocopherol. Your best bet is to try to have a few handfuls daily.

When researchers compared the 10 vegetables that are most frequently consumed in the US, onions had the 3rd highest level of phenolic compounds, which are thought to be among the most potent anticancer substances in foods. A Finnish study of men who frequently ate onions and other foods high in phenolic compounds showed that they were 60% less likely than those who ate smaller amounts.

A recent study showed that people who drank two or more cups of either black or green tea daily reduced their risk for squamous cell carcinoma by 30%. This effect seems to grow over time, as some study participants who had drank tea daily for up to 47 years reduced their risk by 51%. It is believed that anti-oxidants in tea can counter free radicals that are triggered by sun exposure.

All varieties of winter squash are extremely high in beta-carotene. A long running Japanese study of over 57,000 people found that the participants who ate the most pumpkin had the lowest rates of gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers. Alternatives to pumpkin are carrots, broccoli, and all winter squashes, including butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash.

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