One mention of super-foods, particularly those with certain health benefits and what immediately comes to mind are the obscure and unpronounceable. Think chia seeds, kefir or quinoa. But in a recent health study, some relatively common foods were shown to have a profound effect at fighting prostrate, and best of all, they are all readily available in the supermarket.
The four super-foods are pomegranates, green tea, turmeric and broccoli. In a study, carried out by Prof Robert Thomas, a consultant oncologist at Bedford Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, men who had suffered from prostate cancer and had received either surgery or radiotherapy for the disease, were each given a capsule containing the essence of pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli.
They took the capsules for 6 months, and at the end of the trial their PSA levels (a protein which indicates the presence of the cancer) were 63 per cent lower than those who took a placebo.
The super-foods all contain high levels of polyphenol, which has been shown in previous studies to be beneficial in fighting against cancer, but this is the first British study to show such a dramatic effect on people who are suffering from prostate cancer, compared to those who did not receive the capsules.
Polyphenols are natural plant-based phytochemicals which are typically found in healthy foods, such as dark berries, artichokes, red wine, apple juice, spinach and black olives. These phytochemicals are also said to have beneficial effects on chronic illnesses such as dementia, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart disease, skin aging and macular degeneration.
Not only that, but further studies have shown that a regular diet that consists of these healthier foods can also lower the risks of other cancers, such as breast, pancreatic, oesophageal, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancer. In fact, research suggests that people who eat polyphenol-rich fruit, vegetables, soy and green tea are more likely to survive breast cancer, than those who do not.
The way polyphenols work is that their anti-oxidant properties help to protect the DNA structure from oxidative damage from carcinogens present in the body. They also help by killing cancer cells and stopping the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
The patients who took part in the study reported no adverse side effects, and because of their lowered PSA rates, significantly fewer of them went on to have further treatment.
Professor Thomas said: “Our experience in offering high-quality clinical care, collaboration with cancer charities and world-class research with the University of Cambridge has resulted in findings which will have an world-wide impact. We hope this will help millions of men to help combat the onset of prostate cancer.”
The study, known as the ‘Pomi-T’ study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Ontology in Chicago on June 2nd, in front of 28,000 oncologists, where it was chosen out of the 10 most significant research projects in each cancer topic from around the world. Other presentations are said to relate to multi-million dollar international projects, whilst the ‘Pomi-T’ study was conducted for less than £15,000.
Professor Thomas said: “Healthy eating and lifestyle is the main way of helping to combat the development of cancer but men can now also turn to a whole food supplement which has been shown to work.”