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Fighting cancer with flavonoids

Fruits and vegetables - the colors of hope
Fruits and vegetables - the colors of hope

Over 1,500 people die every day in the United States from some form of cancer. Over 1.5 million new cases will be diagnosed in 2014 alone. The numbers are sobering. If making one dietary change reduces the chance of a cancer diagnosis by 10%, would it be worth it? How about 5%? 1%? Flavonoids are a molecular compound found in plants, and studies have shown them to have cancer fighting and cancer deterring properties. It may be virtually impossible to direct the path of cancer, but isn't it worth the effort to try?

Flavonoids play a large role in the pollination, UV filtration, and pigmentation of plants. They are responsible for giving blackberries their bright, dark color. The richest amount of flavonoids are found in the fruits and vegetables with the most vibrant colors. From the roots to the fruits, flavonoids are a critical part of the molecular composition of plants.

As a dietary source, flavonoids serve as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant to protect human cell structure. That may not sound like a big deal, but think about how inflammation affects the body. Swelling indicates a problem. Stress, damage, and illness does not go unnoticed in the body. Inflammation is one of the body’s responses. What is the first thing to happen to a broken leg or an allergy-ridden nasal passage? Swelling.

There’s a strong connection between inflammation and a weakened immune system. The majority of illnesses have a connection to a weakened immune system. Within a plant, flavonoids offer protection from the destruction brought on by fungi and insects. In a general sense, if flavonoids keep plants healthy, might they work the same in the human body?

A recent study on flavonoids by The American Institute for Cancer produced encouraging results. The study examined several types of cancer along with flavonoids from a variety of fruits and vegetables and found connections. Another study from the Department of Biotechnology at MMEC in India also found “a positive correlation between flavonoids-rich diet (from vegetables and fruits) and lower risk of colon, prostate and breast cancers.”

Carrot power may not cure cancer. Eating broccoli may not prevent cancer. However, eating carrots and broccoli may very well improve the immune system. Researchers agree that the body’s best defense is a strong immune system. Choosing a salad over French fries may not prevent a cancer diagnosis. But if it helps one person, then maybe one more person can survive or avoid or better endure cancer.