The summer period and the abundance of fruits and vegetables offer ample opportunity to indulge yourself at the table and take care of your health at the same time. some fruits and vegetables have active molecules in them that help prevent and fight cancer. Here is a small selection for summer tables.
Peaches and nectarines help prevent breast cancer
Peach, like its close botanical relatives in the Rosaceae family (plum, pear, apple), contains significant amounts of chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids, two polyphenols that contribute to the anti-cancer properties of these foods. For example, peach extracts containing chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids are able to specifically block the growth of breast cancer cells, while they have no effect on normal, non-cancerous cells. In preclinical models, this inhibitory effect results in a significant reduction in tumor growth and the formation of metastases, and this, at amounts of polyphenols that can easily be reached through the diet (two peaches). These observations are consistent with recent studies that show that regular consumption of peaches and nectarines is associated with a significant reduction (40%) in certain types of breast cancer. In the current state of knowledge, there is therefore no doubt that peaches and nectarines represent very interesting additions to the diet of anyone who wishes to reduce their risk of breast cancer.
Citrus fruits: a zest of good health
Best known for their high vitamin C content, citrus fruits also contain several phytochemicals (polyphenols and monoterpenes) that may help prevent cancer. Laboratory studies suggest that these molecules are active against several types of cancer cells and epidemiological data indicate that regular consumption of citrus fruits is associated with a reduced risk of stomach and oesophageal cancers.
Citrus fruits also indirectly influence the risk of cancer, by modulating the enzymatic systems involved in the elimination of foreign substances from the body.
Citrus fruits are very often consumed in the form of juice and it should be kept in mind that these drinks are very sweet, and the absence of fiber leads to very rapid absorption of the glucose and fructose they contain. Rediscovering the pleasure associated with eating a whole orange or grapefruit is therefore a good way to take advantage of the benefits of these exceptional fruits, while avoiding too sudden changes in blood sugar that can contribute to overweight.
tomatoes: lycopene prevents certain cancers: prostate, breast and lung
Carotenoids are natural pigments responsible for the colorations varying from orange-yellow to violet-red in a large number of fruits and vegetables. Although there are more than 600 distinct carotenoids, beta-carotene (carrots), lutein (spinach) and lycopene (tomatoes) alone represent nearly 80% of carotenoid intake and these molecules have been most studied so far. Tomato lycopene is the carotenoid whose anti-cancer action is best established.
Regular consumption of tomato products is associated with an epidemiological reduction of about 25% in the risk of prostate cancer, a protection
which can even reach 53% for the advanced forms of this disease. This anticancer effect of lycopene is mainly observed in men aged 65 and over who have no family history of prostate cancer. The other dietary carotenoids are not left out, however, a high intake of alpha and bet-carotene as well as lutein being associated with a significant reduction in the risk of breast cancer and lung cancer.
This anticancer action is not restricted to “earthly” fruits and vegetables, as laboratory studies indicate that fucoxanthin from algae is one of the carotenoids with the strongest anticancer activity, an action that could contribute to exceptional longevity. Okinawans who eat these foods on a daily basis. Consuming whole fruits and vegetables is essential to reap the benefits of carotenoids.
Garlic: fight against cancers of the digestive system
Garlic is possibly the oldest example of a plant used as much for its nutritional properties as its positive impacts on health.
Considered by the Egyptians and Greeks as a food that gave strength and endurance (the first Olympians were force-fed garlic before competitions, making it the first athletic performance-enhancing substance in history!), garlic was also an indispensable ingredient in the traditional medicines of the first civilizations, being used since the highest antiquity as a remedy for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from infections to problems with circulation, breathing or digestion. Several population studies indicate that people who regularly eat vegetables from the garlic family (garlic, onion, shallot, chives, leek) are less at risk of developing certain types of cancer, particularly those of the digestive system (stomach, esophagus, colon). A protective effect against cancers of the prostate, pancreas and breast has also been reported. Garlic and its close relatives are therefore essential plants for the prevention of cancer, which should be eaten as regularly as possible. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume 2-5 g of fresh garlic (about one clove) daily.