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What Kind of Veggies You Eat May be Key to Cancer Protection

A study published in the October 2008 edition of the journal Food Chemistry found that vegetables with the highest anti-cancer properties only account for a small part of our diet.

According to a group of Canadian researchers from Quebec, their study found that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage as well as allium vegetables like onions, garlic, and leeks have the highest cancer fighting potential.

Researchers found that these particular vegetables contain the highest levels of anti-carcinogenic compounds by evaluating extracts from 34 different vegetables. The researchers used the extracts to test their ability to inhibit the growth of various tumor cells.

They found that cruciferous and allium vegetables significantly inhibited stomach, lung, breast, kidney, skin, pancreas, prostate, and brain cancer cells. Other vegetables such as potato, carrot, tomato and lettuce had no effect on the cancer cells.

According to the researchers, the fact that potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce had no effect on the cancer cells is significant because these vegetables account for about 60% of total vegetable consumption in the United States.

The anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables have also been highlighted in previous studies. Several have shown that these vegetables may activate certain genes known to play a role in cancer fighting.

They are also high in B vitamins which studies show have anti-cancer properties, support the immune system and lower homocysteine (an amino acid related to high risk of heart disease and stroke).

In future studies, researchers hope to identify the mechanisms behind these anti-cancer properties and uncover exactly how much of each vegetable you need to eat to reduce your cancer risk.

According to the World Health Organization, most Americans and Europeans fail to consume the recommended 400 grams of fruits and vegetables a day. But according to this research it's not just how much but what kind of vegetables you eat that may have the biggest impact on your health.
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