Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monoterpenes: food chemical that makes the grapefruit an anti-cancer diet

The grapefruit (citrus paradisi) is one of the many food supplements that can be added to our list of daily anti-cancer diet. It also one of the healthy things to eat as suggested by nutritionists. The grape fruit is a member of the famous Citrus family which includes orange, lemon, lime and tangerine. The citrus fruit family are believed to contain food chemicals which research studies have shown to have anti-cancer activities in both preventing and fighting cancer. Some of these food chemicals found in the grapefruit (which is also synonymous with other citrus fruit family members) which gives it its anti-cancer properties include:

 1. Vitamin C 2. Beta carotene 3. Folic acid 4. Monoterpenes Most of these above named food chemicals are quite known to many of us except for the Monoterpenes. In this article however, we will be taking the Monoterpenes as the food chemical of interest. This is because the Monoterpenes are a vital agent in our anti-cancer diet. Researchers claim that the Monoterpenes have the greatest anti-cancer activity when compared with other food chemicals in the citrus family. Monoterpenes are food chemicals found mainly in essential oils, such as lavender and orange oils. They are found in abundance in the peels of citrus fruits. So what are the anti-cancer properties of this food chemical? The Monoterpenes are found to be active in the Melavonic acid pathway in plants. How significant is this pathway? This pathway is similar to the pathway through which cholesterol is produced in animals (and possibly humans). Why is this pathway important to the anti-cancer properties of the Monoterpenes? Good question! Early research has shown that some aspect of cholesterol metabolism encourages the growth of cancer cells. It has also been discovered that in order to fight cancer, Monoterpenes interfere with cholesterol synthesis in animals, thereby fighting cancer formation. Simply put: to fight cancer, the anti-cancer activity of the food chemical, Monoterpenes, is to interfere with the synthesis and metabolism of cholesterol.
Another reason why the grapefruit is one of the healthy things to eat (and should be included in our anti-cancer diet) is because of the Monoterpenes increase the levels of liver enzymes involved in detoxification of carcinogens. This important anti-cancer activity of this food chemical reduces the cells’ risk of developing cancer. Research studies have found that these food chemicals also stimulate cell self-destruction mechanism when cells are damaged. This anti-cancer property of the Monoterpenes has been proven to be effective in fighting liver, skin, pancreas, and breast cancer. Although the amount of Monoterpenes required to effectively fight cancer in humans have not been established, this anti-cancer food chemical in grapefruit is safe to ingest and can be added to other anti-cancer diet for better results in fighting cancer.

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