How food fights cancer

How food fights cancer

The relative scarcity of studies on diet and breast cancer prognosis is particularly striking, since the mechanisms that may explain how diet relates to cancer risk may also teach us something about the role of diet in treating the disease. Some dietary factors act to prevent cancer by biological mechanisms. For instance, cruciferous vegetables may alter the metabolism of carcinogens. Folate (one of the B vitamins) affects the expression of DNA. Soluble fiber may decrease factors that influence cell proliferation and thereby inhibit the growth of an invasive cancer. As a specific example, genistein, an isoflavone that is found in high concentration in soy foods, has been demonstrated to reduce the formation of new blood vessels, among other physiological roles. Because tumors need a blood supply in order to grow, we may hypothesize that diets high in soy may inhibit tumor progression.

Lawrence Kushi, Sc.D

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