Topic: Food and Health

To Fight Cancer You Need to Eat Red, Purple and Blue Foods

Aug 20, 2007
American scientists performed a study according to which fruits and vegetables colored red, purple or blue, due to their natural pigments, could serve as effective anti-cancers agents.

Such foods like aubergines, red cabbage, elderberries and bilberries include special compounds that do not permit the growth of cancer cells. There were some cases when these compounds even killed cancer cells entirely, while healthy cells remained unharmed.

Researchers combined the tests made on human cancer cells with the experiments performed on animals. The experiments were performed in order to see if a diet rich in the foods had anything to do with the risk of cancer development.

Those foods that included a high level of compounds proved to be very effective against the growth of cancer. Purple corn together with chokeberries were effective at stopping colon cancer cells development. Throughout the tests these compounds killed 20 percent of cancer cells.

Radishes and black carrots, considered to be food that has very few pigments, slowed down the development of colon cancer cells by 50 to 80 percent.

Due to the fact that pigments, belonging to a class of antioxidant compounds, also known as anthocyanins, are absorbed with difficulty by the bloodstream, they move through the stomach on to gastrointestinal tract. There these pigments are taken up by the tissues that surround them. Scientists believe that the survival of anthocyanins through the intestine's lower part could be the key that can lead to discovering the role in preventing the development of cancer cells.

Monica Giusti, plant nutrients expert working at Ohio State University, together with a team of researchers found anthocyanins in various fruits and vegetables, all of them having a deep red, blue or purple color. She then added these anthocyanins to flasks that had a suspension of human colon cancer cells.
Researchers analyzed and calculated the amount of each extract that is needed for limiting the growth of cancer cells by 50 percent. The most effective proved to be the anthocyanin from the purple corn. Close to its effectiveness were also chokeberries and bilberries.
During the second study the team gave a diet of anthocyanin extracts, taken from bilberries and chokeberries, to rats that had colon cancer cells. To remind that these extracts are used as flavorings when producing jams and fruit drinks. Those rats that received anthocyanin had their colon tumors decreased by 60 to 70 percent.
Researchers are currently analyzing whether it is possible to change the structure of the compounds found in fruits and vegetables so to make them even more effective.