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August 21, 2007

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Forget Eating Your Greens: Red and Blue Foods Are the Cancer Fighters

From the Guardian (UK)

Natural pigments that give certain fruit and vegetables a rich red, purple or blue colour act as powerful anti-cancer agents, according to a study by American scientists. The compounds, found in foods such as aubergines, red cabbage, elderberries and bilberries, restricted the growth of cancer cells and in some cases killed them off entirely, leaving healthy cells unharmed.

The study combined laboratory tests on human cancer cells with experiments on animals that were designed to see whether a diet rich in the foods made a difference to their risk of developing cancer.

Foods with the highest levels of the compounds were most effective at slowing cancer growth, with exotic purple corn and chokeberries stopping the growth of colon cancer cells and killing 20 percent in lab tests. Foods less enriched with the pigments, such as radishes and black carrots, slowed the growth of colon cancer cells by 50 percent to 80 percent. The findings bring scientists closer to unravelling the key ingredients responsible for giving fruit and vegetables their cancer-fighting properties.

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