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Spicy Food Can Fight Cancer


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Spicy Food Can Fight Cancer: Study

Thursday January 11, 2007

It almost sounds too good to be true - a chemical that can kill cancer cells with little or no harmful side effects - and even more so if you love spicy food.

Researchers in the United Kingdom have found that capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers, can cause cancer cells to self-destruct. The common compound found in the foods that make you sweat attacks the bad cells without harming any of the good surrounding tissues.

The findings were published in the journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham in England and in Wales tested the capsaicin on human lung cancer cells with positive results and also tried the compound on pancreatic cancer cells, considered one of the toughest forms of cancer to beat, and had similar success.

This research correlates with low cancer rates in nations such as India and Mexico where chillies are a dietary staple.

In China, specifically in Sichuan cuisine, the use of hot peppers has long been thought to help ward off ailments caused by a damp climate.

The UK scientists' findings could have an incredible affect on cancer care because capsaicin is a readily available substance already approved for use in several medications and using it to fight the disease would be relatively cheap.

"The ingredient has been studied many years for health benefits including cancer," local registered dietician Julie Daniluk explains.

Patrick Chetty doesn't need much convincing of hot peppers' health properties. He eats them every day and even bottles his own hot sauce.

"You don't get a cold, you're never sick, you never complain about anything," he said.


Here is a list of foods that fight disease, courtesy of the Stanford Health Improvement Program and the YMCA (U.S.):

1. Beans: Beans contain a number of phytochemicals, which have been shown to prevent or slow genetic damage to cells. While this makes beans beneficial for helping to reduce your risk of many types of cancer, specific research has suggested they are especially potent in preventing prostate cancer. As an added bonus, the high fiber content of beans has been connected with a lower risk of digestive cancers.

2. Berries: The two most widely studied cancer-fighting compounds in berries are ellagic acid (richest in strawberries and raspberries) and anthocyanosides (richest in blueberries). Ellagic acid is believed to help prevent skin, bladder, lung, and breast cancers, both by acting as an antioxidant and by slowing the reproduction of cancer cells. The anthocyanosides in blueberries are currently the most powerful antioxidants known to scientists and are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale): Cruciferous vegetables-like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale-are rich in a variety of compounds that have been shown to slow cancer growth and development in a number of laboratory studies. Other larger human studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables can help to reduce the risk of lung, stomach, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers.

4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Leafy-green vegetables-like romaine lettuce, mustard greens, chicory, and Swiss chard-are rich sources of antioxidants called carotenoids. These compounds scavenge dangerous free radicals from the body before they can promote cancer growth. The vegetables are also rich in folate, a vitamin shown to reduce the risk of lung and breast cancer.

5. Flaxseed: Flaxseed in the form of oil and meal contains phytoestrogens believed to reduce the risk of breast, skin, and lung cancer. Research on the potency of flaxseed as an anti-cancer food is still underway.

6. Garlic (including onions, scallions, leeks, and chives): Garlic contains a number of compounds believed to slow or stop the growth of tumors. One such compound, diallyl disulfide, appears to be especially potent in protecting against skin, colon, and lung cancer, though it is not known exactly how it functions.

7. Grapes: Grapes and wine contain a chemical called resveratrol, which has been shown to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Resveratrol is thought to work by preventing cell damage before it begins. Red and purple grapes are the richest sources of resveratrol.

8. Green Tea (decaf): Green tea is a rich source of a class of flavonoids known as catechins. Laboratory studies have shown that the catechins present in green tea are able to slow or prevent the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells.

9. Soy: Soy is rich in isoflavones, compounds that have been shown to protect against cancer of the bladder, cervix, lung, and stomach. Soy also contains components that resemble some of the body's natural hormones. These components may be beneficial in preventing breast and prostate cancers.

10. Tomatoes: The anti-cancer compound in tomatoes, lycopene, has been shown to be especially potent in combating prostate cancer. This compound appears to be more easily absorbed if the tomatoes are eaten in processed form-either as tomato sauce, paste, or juice. In addition to preventing prostate cancer, lycopene may also protect against breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancer.

11. Whole Grains: Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds, including fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer.

For more information on how you can boost cancer prevention in your diet, visit the following links:

Canadian Cancer Society - Prevention

WebMD - Cancer-fighting foods

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You come up with some great sites. I feel like you are doing half my research. I was told by a friend that if I liked hot foods that I would not get sick from the chemo. When I was to start chemo they said stay away from spicy foods that you might get sicker. I asked if I could go on eating them. They said OK but they thought I would get sicker. I never got sick. I am still putting away the hot peppers.

Stay positive, :)


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