The best, proven food strategy to prevent cancer is five servings of colored fruits and vegetables per day. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different important cancer-fighting substances called phytochemicals. The reds contain lycopene, the red/purples contain anthrocyanins, the oranges contain carotenoids, the orange/yellows contain beta cryptothanxin, the yellow/greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, the greens contain indoles and sulforaphanes, and the white/greens contain allicin, quercitin, and flavonoids. Studies of this strategy have shown a reduction in cancer risk.
It is very interesting that studies of individual phytochemicals taken as supplements have been disappointing. Indeed, studies of supplements such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, and higher doses of vitamin A have shown that the people who took the supplements had a higher risk of cancer and death than those who took placebo.
It is not obvious why these phytochemicals in the diet are so beneficial, while concentrated supplements containing individual antioxidants are not beneficial at all. The data, however, are clear and definite. We should get our antioxidants in our diet rather than in concentrated supplements. It is apparently more “natural” and more effective. Let your medicine cabinet be your kitchen!
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