April McCarthy | PreventDisease.com
Vegans and vegetarians have been promoting the lifestyle for decades and now research firmly supports a huge cancer prevention benefit to those who add fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea to their diets.
A study by Susan Steck of the Arnold School of Public Health finds that a high intake of flavonoids, a group of compounds found in plants, may lower the risk for highly aggressive prostate cancer.
In a study of more than 10,000 men and women, individuals who consumed more of plant compounds called flavonoids–especially one type that is most abundant in apples–were less likely to die from heart disease or develop a variety of chronic diseases, including lung cancer, asthma, stroke and diabetes.
Some studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer decline as consumption of flavonoids rises, but other studies have failed to show a protective effect of the plant compounds.
“Incorporating more plant-based foods and beverages, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea, into the diet may offer some protection against aggressive prostate cancer,” said Steck, an associate professor at the Arnold School and an affiliated scholar with the Center for Research in Health Disparities.
A flavonoid rich diet — including apples and oranges — may cut the chances of developing disease by up to 40 percent in men. Previous data supports the growing experimental evidence for neuroprotective effects of these compounds, specifically anthocyanins.
Steck presented her findings at the International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. The annual event is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, whose mission is to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication and collaboration.