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Health benefits of pomegranate, broccoli, turmeric and green tea

Published:Tuesday | September 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM

POMEGRANATE: Pomegranate compounds suppress enzymes in the intestine and liver that convert certain molecules (procarcinogens) into cancer-causing agents. As it relates to those with prostate cancer, the active constituents in pomegranate have proven to be potent inducers of malignant cell death through apoptosis. It is rich in ellagic acid, inhibits prostate cancer-cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in laboratory studies. In breast-cancer cell lines, it increases markers of cell adhesion and reduce migration, which are associated with metastasis.

BROCCOLI: Broccoli's unique contribution to prostate-cancer-fighting is its ability to up-regulate phase II detoxifying enzymes in gut and liver tissue, enabling the body to render harmless thousands of potentially carcinogenic molecules in our diet. It is rich in isothiocyanate and sulforaphane, inhibit growth and promote apoptosis of cancer cells. Regular intake down-regulates genes linked to cancer growth, and up-regulates genes linked to cancer suppression, particularly in the 50 per cent of the population which carry a mutated glutathione S-transferase gene.

TURMERIC: Turmeric's unique contribution to prostate-cancer-fighting is its extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties, provided chiefly by its natural primary component, curcumin. Reducing inflammation with curcumin reduces the metastases that ultimately kill prostate cancer patients. Curcumin also down-regulates genes involved in adhesion, motility, and invasiveness that prostate-cancer cells need to invade and spread. Curcumin specifically inhibits prostate cancer-cell production of PSA by blocking its genetic expression. At the same time, it also reduces activation of the androgen receptors on cancer cells that trigger increased production of PSA. But the whole turmeric root also contains important oils and other substances that enhance curcumin's absorption and have health benefits of their own, including anti-cancer actions. Turmeric also inhibits the growth of stem cells that give rise to breast cancer without harming normal breast cells.

GREEN TEA: Green tea makes a unique contribution to prostate-cancer fighting as a result of a special combination of naturally occurring polyphenols called catechins. Studies show that one of green tea's catechins, EGCG, accumulates specifically in prostate tissue, where it selectively kills cancer cells (leaving healthy cells unaffected) and reduces serum PSA levels. Green tea inhibits breast and prostate cancer-cell proliferation, block de-differentiation and angiogenesis.