The news that someone close to us or someone particularly famous has been diagnosed with a malignant disease, may cause us to pause for thought. When this happens we often stop to think that, when it comes to cancer, the odds are pretty much stacked against us and that it is only a matter of time before we have to confront that "suspicious" lump or a sinister shadow on the X-ray plate.
These thoughts are not really surprising considering the large number of different cancers that have the potential to invade our bodies - common cancers such as those of the breast, prostate, colon, lung as well as the not so common cancers such as leukemia and thyroid cancer.
If we are wise we will be making an effort to reduce our cancer risk by eating sensibly, not smoking, reducing our alcohol intake and by exercising regularly. What we should also be doing, according to a growing body of research, is eating more foods containing the natural compound apigenin.
SOURCES OF APIGENIN
Apigenin is an antioxidant flavonoid found in herbs, spices and other food plants. Examples of foods that contain apigenin are the herbs and spices, coriander, licorice, marjoram, parsley, oregano, rosemary and tarragon. Other foods such a citrus, tea, celery and wheat also contain significant quantities of this yellow cancer fighting compound.
Although most of the research into this compound has been confined to the laboratory, scientists studying apigenin have discovered that it exhibits several different mechanisms that all work to counter the complex factors underlying cancer cell growth.
As well as interfering with a number of cancer signaling processes, apigenin also inhibits the growth of new blood vessels that malignant cells need to grow and proliferate.
HER2 BREAST CANCER GENE
As far as breast cancer is concerned, it also inhibits the expression of the HER2/neu gene. Woman who carry HER2/neu are much more susceptible to an aggressive, treatment-resistant form of cancer for which, until recently, there was no effective treatment.
Apigenin has been shown to suppress the activity of this gene and, in this regard it joins its fellow green tea based flavonoid, epigallocatechin-gallate as a potent preventive agent in those unfortunate to inherit the HER2/neu gene.
CANCERS SUSCEPTIBLE TO APIGENIN
To date apigenin has been found to inhibit the following cancer cell lines: breast, prostate, lung, leukemia, colon, ovary, skin and thyroid - malignancies that account for the vast majority of cancers to which most of us fear falling prey.
PREVENTION RATHER THAN CURE
It will be a long time before research is done into the use of apigenin in the TREATMENT of these malignancies.
And, on a cautionary note, there is also some evidence that high doses of apigenin may actually interfere with one or two chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of leukemia.
In other words a higher dosage of a useful anti-cancer phytonutrient is not always better than the lower dosages that are effective in preventing the onset of the disease.
EAT MORE SPICES
Instead of waiting for that to happen we should be more proactive and eat foods that contain this important phytonutrient.
A regular intake of herbs and spices such as coriander (cilantro), licorice, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme (as well as other foods such as whole wheat, celery, tea and citrus) should provide protective amounts of apigenin.
Moreover, these and other spices supply many other compounds that have proven cancer inhibiting capabilities.
Keith Scott is a medical doctor with an interest in the healing properties of spices. He has written several books including "Medicinal Seasonings, The Healing Power of Spices". To download a free pdf copy of his book, "Medicinal Seasonings" and read more about the health benefits of spices go to: => http://www.medicinal-herbs-and-spices.com
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