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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Prevent Cancer by Chewing on Celery?

bag of fresh vegetables


Celery, green peppers, thyme and chamomile tea all contain a phytochemical that research suggests has strong anti-inflammatory action. Plant components (phytochemicals) appear to have the ability to protect us from harmful inflammation, which can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and insulin resistance.

Additional clues about how plant compounds help prevent cancer and other disease have been revealed thanks to a series of studies from the Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, Calif. The researchers are careful to point out that several key questions still need to be answered such as: Are the compounds as effective in humans as they are in lab-cultured cells? What amounts of the phytochemicals do our bodies actually absorb and use from the foods we eat?

The six plant compounds that the researchers specifically investigated (because they are thought to act as anti-inflammatory agents) are luteolin, quercetin, chrysin, eriodicytol, hesperetin, and naringenin. Here are a couple of the phytochemical discoveries:

  • The six phytochemicals studied were shown to inhibit a particular enzyme’s ability to activate a biochemical signal that leads to inflammation.
  • Luteolin was the most effective inhibitor of the pro-inflammatory enzyme.

Luteolin can be found in celery, thyme, green peppers, and chamomile tea. Foods rich in quercetin include capers, apples and onions. Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus fruits are good sources of hesperetin, eriodicytol and naringenin.

Consider this another good reason to add more fruits and vegetables to your everyday diet.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy celery or green peppers? Share your recipes on the Cooking Community.

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 9:46 am

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