UCLA cancer researchers have discovered something new: Tobacco smokers who eat three servings of fruits and vegetables per day and drink green or black tea may get some added protection from lung cancer.
According to a press release, the researchers determined that flavonoids, water-soluble plant pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may help prevent disease.
For the study, researchers looked at 558 people with lung cancer and 837 people who did not have lung cancer and analyzed their dietary history. Researcher Zuo-Feng Zhang was quoted: "The findings were especially interesting because tobacco smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer." He explained in the article that flavonoids protect against lung cancer by blocking the formation of blood vessels that tumors develop so they can grow and spread, and they also stop cancer cells from growing.
Several types of flavonoids were associated with a lessened risk of lung cancer among smokers. The flavonoids that seemed to offer the most protection included catechin, found in strawberries and green and black teas, kaempferol, found in Brussels sprouts and apples, and quercetin, found in beans, onions and apples.
Zhang added that quitting smoking is the best course of action, but eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more black and green teas wont hurt.
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