A Blog from The Panel of Experts
By Dr. Michael L. Smith – Functional Medicine – Nutrition and Chiropractic HEALTHcare.
We constantly talk about the problems about how we eat in our western culture but here is some good news. A landmark study was completed in Shanghai, China that explored the relationship between our genes and breast cancer. The study encompassed a 3 year period with over 6,000 female participants between the ages of 20 and 70 years of age. One of the groups studied were 3035 women who already had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The second group of 3037 women were randomly selected and did not previously have breast cancer. Extensive dietary histories were taken to see if breast cancer or genetics could be linked to diet.
Two very important trends emerged from the study groups. The first was that scientists were able to identify an important breast cancer gene. The second was that the women with the cancer related genotype who had a low intake of cruciferous vegetables had a 1.7 fold increased risk of breast cancer. Women with the same genotype who consumed a diet high in cruciferous vegetables lowered their odds for breast cancer because nutrients in these particular vegetables lessen the potential cancer causing effects.
The real message here from the Shanghai Breast Cancer study is that if you have the genetic variation that increases your chances of expressing breast cancer, certain plant nutrients (phytonutrients) found in cruciferous vegetables can compensate for the breast cancer gene you may be carrying and in turn lower your risk for breast cancer. But even if you don’t have the particular genotype associated with breast cancer, cruciferous vegetables have many health promoting effects that can benefit women and men alike. What a great reason to eat your organic vegetables, especially the cruciferous variety.
The list includes: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, horseradish, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip root and greens, arugula, radish, daikon, wasabi.
Amer J of Clin Nutr, 87, 3 (2008):753-760.