An ongoing study by the Institute of Food Research revealed that a very common fibre found in most fruits and vegetables helps prevent cancer. Lead researcher Professor Vic Morris suggested that ‘pectin’ a fibre found in almost every fruit and vegetable from plums to potatoes has cancer-fighting potential.
Research shows that diets most protective against cancer are predominately plant-based. Studies have indicated that pomegranates are powerful antioxidants that help prevent cancer, but so are blueberries, which are categorized as super foods as they have been found to be abundant in amhocyanidins, compounds that may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Similarly, carotenoids, present in significant amounts in vegetables and fruits, protect against lung cancer.
Professor Vic Morris conducted research on pectin with lab work using hi-tech microscopes and found that the fibre inhibits a cancer-causing protein called Gal3. The amount of pectin in fruit and vegetables varies, with apples and oranges having particularly high amounts and strawberries and grapes low.
The findings of the current study however suggest that people need not necessarily rely on just ‘super foods’ to reap cancer fighting benefits, but are perhaps more benefitted by eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Professor Morris said: “We hear so much about ‘super foods’ like blueberries, but for a combination of different effects it may be better to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. I am not saying don’t eat super foods, but just make sure you eat others as well.”
Although the recent years have seen a boom in the sale of super foods, many people still don’t consume the recommended five-a-day intake. In this scenario, the revelation of cancer fighting properties present in a common fibre such as pectin coupled with its ease of consumption increases one’s chances of developing better immunity to ward off any form of cancer.
Written by Snigdha Taduri for BiomedME