Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quercetin: Food Chemical that makes the Apple fruit a very important Anti-Cancer Diet

The apple fruit (Malus domestica) is a pomaceus fruit of the apple tree. It is the most widely known of the many members of the genus Malus that are used by humans. The apple fruit, as one of the healthy things to eat, is laced with important food chemicals that have both anti-cancer properties and other health benefits. The proof that that apple fruit is of great benefit to human health is shown in a report released in 2004. The report showed that the Red Delicious and Granny Smith apple varieties ranked 12th and 13th respectively amongst over 100 foods investigated by USDA scientists.

One of the non-anti-cancer food chemical found in the apple fruit that is worth mentioning is a fibre called Pectin. As one of the healthy things to eat, Pectin is very important in our normal diet and in our anti-cancer diet. Below are some of the non anti-cancer health benefits which the food chemical, pectin gives the apple fruit.

1.       Gives white, healthier teeth
2.       Prevents Alzheimer’s
3.       Protects against Parkinson’s
4.       Reduces the risk of diabetes
5.       Reduces cholesterol
6.       Gives healthier heart
7.       Controls weight 

As a vital component of our anti-cancer diet, the apple fruit, according to scientist from the American Association for Cancer Research, contains food chemicals that could reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 23%. It is also on record that food chemicals in apple such as Triterpenoids, found in apple peels have shown anti-cancer activities in colon, liver and breast cancer cell lines. According to the National Cancer Institute, a recommendation of a high fibre intake (pectin) reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. 

Like any other food in our anti-cancer diet, the apple fruit possesses some food chemicals that makes it potent in fighting cancer. Some of these food chemicals in apple are
1.       Quercetin
2.       Epicatechin
3.       Anthocyanins (found in red apples)
4.       Triterpenoids (found in apple peels)
For the benefit of this article, we shall be looking at the anti-cancer properties of Quercetin.

Quercetin: Quercetin is a food chemical found in green and black tea, red grapes, raspberries, citrus fruits and organic tomatoes. As a food chemical, quercetin is regarded as the most abundant and one of the most powerful flavonoid known to man. According to research studies, it comes second only to curcumin, the active food chemical ingredient in turmeric, found in curry powder.

As a food chemical found in our anti-cancer diet, quercetin’s anti-cancer properties are that of anti-oxidation, anti-toxicity and anti-inflammation. The anti-cancer activities of this food chemical have been reported to help fight and reduce the risk of colon, prostate, ovarian, gastric, and breast cancer cell lines.

As an anti-oxidant, this food chemical plays an active role in preventing cancer progression by ‘stealing’ Iron from cancer cells. Quercetin binds to excess Iron in the cancer cells and removes it to prevent its absorption. This process is known as chelation. The importance of this process in fighting cancer is further explained by scientists. Iron, in red meat, is a key ingredient in cancer cell growth. Quercetin has the anti-cancer ability to ‘steal’ the Iron from cancer cells which may stop their growth and induce death.

Another anti-cancer activity of the food chemical, Quercetin, is its anti-inflammatory effect. It has the ability to inhibit genes which promote inflammation in cells. It is a known fact that the inflammation of cells can lead to cancer formation. Genes that promote inflammation in cells such as STAT-1 and NF-kB are inhibited by the anti-cancer activity of Quercetin.


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