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We have become accustomed to the news that vegetables and fruits are very useful and can even prevent the development of many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. But this news of research by scientists at Imperial College London is shocking in a good way.
Scientists who conducted this study, say the direct text: "In oranges, carrots, cabbage, grapes and other gifts of nature contain molecules that can fight cancer, and their properties are similar to the properties of registered drugs."
THE COMPUTER CONSCIOUSLY CORRECTLY
To come to this conclusion, they used the methods used in computer simulation of drugs. To this end, information on 7962 biologically active molecules contained in vegetables, fruits, berries, and some other foodstuffs was entered into a special computer database. And these active molecules were compared with 199 already registered drugs for the treatment of malignant tumors.
The program, acting on a specific algorithm, modeled how these nearly 8,000 natural molecules act in the human body and compared them with the action of anti-cancer drugs. The result was amazing: 110 molecules contained in the products had the same properties as drugs for the treatment of cancer. This conclusion was made on the basis of their close resemblance. But you can be sure that there are more than 110 anti-cancer molecules in the gifts of nature. Many of them simply do not have prototypes in the form of medicines. And their appearance is a matter of the future. But the gifts of nature as a preventive measure to prevent the development of cancer and help in its treatment, the researchers rate very high.
What products were the most anti-cancer? The greatest variety of molecules capable of resisting cancer cells were demonstrated by such gifts of nature as oranges, grapes, carrots, cabbage, coriander (cilantro), dill, celery.
A COMPLEX APPROACH
When the therapeutic or prophylactic potential of fruits, vegetables and berries is usually evaluated, they usually speak of some separate biologically active molecules. And it is with them that they associate the beneficial effect of the gifts of nature. Researchers at Imperial College London find this approach wrong and one-dimensional.
The fact is that when such anticancer molecules are isolated and clinical trials are conducted with them, testing them as drugs, they do not always confirm their activity. This is often explained by an insufficient dose of such molecules in the fruit or some other factors. While regular consumption of the fruits and vegetables themselves, rather than individual active ingredients of them, reduces the risk of developing cancer – and this has been confirmed in very many studies. What is the matter, how to explain this paradox?
Researchers at Imperial College believe that the real effect of fruits and vegetables should be explained by the complex action of several active molecules contained in them. For example, in orange and citrus there are three active anti-cancer substances: didimine (citrus flavonoid), obacunon (limonoid glucose) and beta element.
The first substance is a strong antioxidant, the second promotes apoptosis – programmed cancer cell death, and the third has a chemosensitizing effect – makes the malignant cells more susceptible to the action of anti-cancer substances, thereby enhancing their effect.
This triple and complementary effect of oranges makes them a truly powerful tool for cancer prevention. And recall, such effects of citrus are confirmed by numerous scientific studies.
Scientists emphasize that individual fruits, vegetables and some products should be regarded as just a kind of consortium of biologically active substances. And the various anticancer substances present in them with different mechanisms of action will work for our health at the same time. Therefore, the anti-cancer properties of each food product will be determined by two groups of factors.
The first is a combination of additive (additional), antagonistic (competitive) and synergistic (complementary) actions of their individual active molecules.
The second group is the way in which all these molecules simultaneously affect the various intracellular mechanisms of malignant tumors.
As a product in which both these groups of factors are ideally combined, scientists cite tea, whose anti-cancer properties are well known. Tea is a rich source of anti-cancer molecules such as catechins (epigallocatechin gallate), terpenoids (lupeol) and tannins (procyanidin).
All these three components have a strong and complementary anti-cancer effect. The first of them protects against DNA damage (this is the genetic program of the cell), the second suppresses inflammation and the third causes apoptosis, stopping the reproduction of cancer cells. And such a powerful triple blow to cancer has been repeatedly confirmed in studies where the consumption of tea (especially green) prevented the development of cancer. And for those who have already become ill with this disease, due to tea, recurrences of cancer were less common after treatment, and the remission period was longer.
Researchers emphasize that it is best to consume whole fruits and vegetables. As an example, they give an apple. There are a lot of biologically active substances with anti-cancer effect.
In particular, the experiment showed that apple extracts block the growth of tumor cells in vitro (in cell culture). But what is interesting is that when the extract was obtained from a whole apple with a peel, it blocked the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43%. And when the extract was obtained from a peeled apple, which was removed from the skin, the effect was much worse, it decreased to 29%.
What are the goals of the scientists who conducted this study? They are going to apply their smart nutritional program not only for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Other diseases, where the role of nutrition is very high, are next. And first of all diabetes.
Moreover, they are confident that, by perfecting their methodology, they will be able to embody the idea of the so-called gastronomic medicine: they will create personalized “food passports” for each person depending on their needs and state of health. They will include products that are especially important and useful for this person. And it will be not just the advice of a doctor or a nutritionist, but the decision of a computer that can take into account an incomparably much larger number of factors than a person. This is the real use of personalized medicine in the diet.