Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food
We are all familiar with the nutritional advice to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for the prevention of a range of disease states including cancer.
The range of vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs being identified as anti-cancer agents is continually growing. Furthermore researchers are recognizing that, as they find out more about the molecular mechanisms involved, it is not just prevention. Many of the cellular pathways acted upon by specific chemicals from plants mean that they could also be used for treatment either singly or in combination.
A recent study in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology (May 2006) spells this out in some detail and even lists the range of chemicals involved and the foods that contain them. Below is their list many of which you may be familiar with from your own research or from past Newsletters.
curcumin (turmeric), resveratrol (red grapes, peanuts and berries), genistein (soybean), diallyl sulfide (onions), S-allyl cysteine (onions), allicin (garlic), lycopene (tomato), capsaicin (red chilli), diosgenin (fenugreek), 6-gingerol (ginger), ellagic acid (pomegranate), ursolic acid (apple, pears, prunes), silymarin (milk thistle), anethol (anise, camphor, and fennel), catechins (green tea), eugenol (cloves), indole-3-carbinol (cruciferous vegetables), limonene (citrus fruits), beta carotene (carrots), and dietary fiber.
Interestingly the researchers concluded their paper with the quotation from Hippocrates in the title of this article.
Colin Sutherland from Aggarwal & Shishodia (Biochem Pharmacol 2006 71(10) 1397-1421