Monday, July 30, 2012

In The News: High Dietary Antioxidant Intake Might Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Increasing DIETARY intake of vitamins C, E and selenium could possibly reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to two thirds according to new research published in the journal Gut by UK investigators from the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia, Norfolk arm of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study. (The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) is a large multi-centre cohort study looking at the connection between diet and cancer. EPIC-Norfolk is part of this Europe-wide program).

The researchers followed the health of more than 23,500 40 to 74 year olds, who had entered the Norfolk arm of the EPIC study between 1993 and 1997, all the participants completed detailed food diaries as part of the study.  According to the summary published in Science Daily: "The analysis showed that a weekly intake of selenium in the top 25% of consumption roughly halved their risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with those whose intake was in the bottom 25%.
And those whose vitamins C, E, and selenium intake was in the top 25% of consumption were 67% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who were in the bottom 25%.
If the link turns out to be causal, that would add up to the prevention of more than one in 12 (8%) of pancreatic cancers, calculate the authors. Antioxidants may neutralize the harmful by-products of metabolism and normal cell activity -- free radicals -- and curb genetically programmed influences, as well as stimulating the immune system response, explain the authors."

This is exciting news because pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, often with a very serious prognosis, so if simple dietary measures could be taken to aid in its prevention this could be a tremendous help!  It's important to note that this was a cohort/observational study so more research needs to be done to prove a causal association.  Also a key thing to note is that the research pointing to prevention may be through diet NOT supplements.  Other studies investigating antioxidant supplements have not produced such successful results, possibly because food sources of these nutrients may behave differently from those found in supplements scientists report.

Food sources of selenium include turkey, chicken and tuna, so try my Easy Chicken Cacciatore, Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Kabobs and Tasty Turkey Salad recipes to get a healthy dose. Sunflower seeds and oats are a good source of selenium AND sunflower seeds provide vitamin E so make my Simple Sunflower Bars recipe to get these nutrients in at snack time.  Other nuts like almonds and hazelnuts also provide a decent amount of vitamin E, so have a side of my Almond Cranberry Rice with your meal. Vitamin C is plentiful in citrus fruits and red peppers, as well as broccoli and strawberries so choosing to prepare my Spinach and Strawberry Salad, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, Creamy Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce or Snappy Stuffed Peppers will be sure to put some in your daily diet!


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