Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Flavonoids and Cancer Risk?

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English: Micrograph of a colorectal villous ad...

English: Micrograph of a colorectal villous adenoma. Villous adenomas are consider pre-malignant lesions with a high risk of malignant transformation. Histologic features: Nuclear hyperchromatism. Nuclear elongation. +/-Loss of nuclear stratification. Cytoplasmic hyperchromatism. Villous architecture – long finger like projections. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are Flavonoids?  They are phytochemicals found in plants, especially in the colorful pigments. Flavonoids may be beneficial for your health, because they often work as antioxidants in your body.

The flavonoid family includes many different compounds, such as flavonols, flavones, isoflavones, catechins and anthocyanidins.

Fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, tea and seeds,  beans and onions are all good sources of flavonoids.   These compounds may reduce the recurrence of advanced adenomas, the polyps associated with colorectal cancer.

Using an updated flavonoid database, the researchers selected 26 flavonoid compounds in 393 foods.  They then used this database and applied it to a food-frequent questionnaires in the Polyp Prevention Trial, a randomized dietary intervention that looked at the effects of a low-fat, high-fiber high fruit and high vegetable diet on adenoma recurrence with 2,000 men and women.
The results indicated that the participants consuming the most flavonols were 76%  less likely to have a recurrence of polyps than those consuming the least. A significant difference was shown to occur between the  quartile of the participants consuming the most compared with the quartile consuming the least.

This study was conducted with people who already had a history of colorectal adenoma; it did not address the prevention of these polyps (primary prevention) and the results were only significant when comparing top and bottom quartiles of intake.

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