Active Anti-Cancer Components in Food

The active anti-cancer components in food contain a variety of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Antioxidants are important anti-cancer components and are believed to protect cells from “free radicals”, which are harmful oxygen molecules. Free radicals may cause damage to cells, possibly resulting in cancer. Antioxidants may help prevent the formation of carcinogens, block the actions of carcinogens, and suppress cancer development.

Here are the examples of active anti-cancer components existed in the food we consume:

  1. Allyl sulfides: Reduce the risk of cancer by limiting the number of cancerous precursors from becoming cancers. Found in foods in the onion family, such as, chives, garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, and shallots.
  2. Anthocyanins: Antioxidants and prevent binding of carcinogens to DNA. Rich in blackberries, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, grapes, raspberries, red peppers, strawberries, and red cabbage.
  3. Carotenoids: Antioxidants. Found in apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, corn, mangoes, papaya, potatoes, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sweet tomatoes.
  4. Catechins: A class of flavonoids. Rich in green tea and berries.
  5. Flavonoids: Antioxidants. Found in berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, cucumbers, eggplant, parsley, peppers, soybeans, squash, and tomatoes.
  6. Glutathione: Antioxidant. Rich in Avocados.
  7. Indoles: Stimulate production of enzymes that break down cancer causing agents. Found in Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.
  8. Lycopene: A class of carotenoids. Found in cooked tomato products, pink grapefruit, and watermelon.
  9. Monoterpenes: Aid protective enzyme activity. Found in basil, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, cucumbers, eggplant, mint, parsley, peppers, and squash.
  10. Phenolic acids: Antioxidants, which inhibit nitrosamine (a carcinogen, cancer causing substance) formation, and help form protective enzymes. Found in berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, eggplant, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, and whole grains.
  11. Vitamin C: Inhibits nitrosamine formation. Found in broccoli, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
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