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article imageVegetables in the diet have epigenetic effect to fight cancer

By Kathleen Blanchard     Mar 8, 2011 in Health
Scientists say compounds in vegetables can prevent and even reverse cancer, in what they call an 'epigenetics' diet. The researchers say the diet is easily attainable and can prevent aging related diseases and lead to healthier lives.
Investigators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham explain epigenetics is the study of how gene expression changes over time, leading to cancer and other diseases including Alzheimer's.
In a study review, published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, the scientists found compounds in vegetables have been identified from global studies, showing vegetable compounds can help prevent potentially debilitating diseases and boost protection from cancer.
The term 'epigenetics diet' was coined by the researchers following publication of their study, that they propose as a new lifestyle concept.
The types of food recommended include soybeans, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Green tea, fava beans, kale, grapes and the spice turmeric.
Study co-author Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., D.O., a biology professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences says, “Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and she was right - But now we better understand why she was right — compounds in many of these foods suppress gene aberrations that over time cause fatal diseases.”
Lead author Syed Meeran, Ph.D., a research assistant professor in Tollefsbol’s UAB Department of Biology laboratory says you don't have to eat a lot of vegetables to achieve the desired effect.
For instance, three cups of green tea might help prevent breast cancer, shown in mouse studies, and a daily cup of broccoli sprouts with the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane could prevent a variety of cancer types.
Tollefsbol says, “Our review article has drawn everything together from global studies, and the common theme is that compounds in the epigenetics diet foods can, at the very least, help us lead healthier lives and help our bodies prevent potentially debilitating diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.”
The notion that vegetables fight cancer and disease is not new. The current study shows why eating vegetables can help prevent cancer and other diseases because compounds in veggies prevent gene aberrations, or epigenetic changes that occur over time in the way genes are expressed.
More about Vegetables, Cancer, Epigenetics, Diet, UAB
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