Dark green vegetables weapons in cancer fight

DARK green vegetables like broccoli can be dietary weapons in fighting cancer and changing gene activity of cancer patients according to new research.

Researchers from the Texas A and M University Health Science Centre and found that sulforaphane, a compound that can be found in high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale, has the potential to help prevent the growth of cancer and fight already existing cancer tumours.

"Researchers have found that adults who ate fresh dark green vegetables had higher levels of expression of a tumour suppressor gene, called p16, compared with those who ate few or no cruciferous vegetables in their diet," AUSVEG National Scientific Affairs Manager Dr Jessica Lye said.

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers

"The study found that the compound sulforaphane that is present in dark green vegetables can not only fight cancer, but also boost the effects of existing anti-cancer drugs," Dr Lye said.

"The researchers also found that the increased levels of p16 persisted even if the subject did not eat dark green vegetables that same day, meaning that the inherent power of these foods could be maintained even if these veggies are not consumed every day."

The research report, recently published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, analysed the cruciferous vegetable-eating habits of 28 adults aged 50 and over, who were already undergoing routine colonoscopies.

"This research study indicates that dietary compounds like sulforaphane that are found in vegetables can be chemo-preventive," said Dr Lye.

"The list of health benefits from a diet that includes a wide range of vegetables, including dark green varieties, is expansive and continues to grow, with a vegetable-rich diet a vital component of a healthy individual.

"Relaying the benefits of eating vegetables to the public, whether they are related to health, well-being or any other benefit, is important in educating consumers on the importance of eating the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, which is two and five servings respectively.

"AUSVEG has long promoted the importance of a diet rich in vegetables, and we encourage all Australians to consume a variety of veggies to ensure they're receiving the advantages that vegetables give to the whole body."



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