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Fruits And Vegetables May Protect Smokers From Lung Cancer

Posted Jun 16 2008 7:02pm

Research by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Jonsson Cancer Center has shown that eating three servings of fruits and vegetables per day and drinking green or black tea may protect smokers from lung cancer.

The researchers attribute this to the flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are water-soluble plant pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can neutralize damage to tissues.

The researchers examined the dietary history of 558 people with lung cancer and 837 people without lung cancer. They found that those who ate foods with certain flavonoids seemed to be protected from developing lung cancer. The researchers found that the most protective flavonoids were catechin (found in strawberries and green and black teas), kaempferol (found in Brussels sprouts and apples), and quercetin (found in beans, onions, and apples).

Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and a professor of public health and epidemiology, said that flavonoids may protect against lung cancer by blocking the formation of blood vessels that tumors develop so they can grow and spread. He also believes that they may stop cancer cells from growing.

The antioxidant properties of the flavonoids may also counteract the DNA damaging effects of tobacco smoking, which may explain why they affected the development of lung cancer in smokers but not in nonsmokers.

The researchers recommend that quitting smoking would be the best defense against lung cancer. However, they also say that eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking tea cannot hurt.

I have posted before about how smoking canaffect gene expressionanddeep sleep. However, it is interesting to find that certain foods may protect smokers from lung cancer. I would imagine that the antioxidants and flavonoids would be beneficial to nonsmokers as well.


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