Natural pigments which give certain fruit and vegetables their bright colour can have a dramatic effect in fighting cancer, new research has shown.
Experiments on human cells have shown that anthocyanins, found in food such as red grapes, elderberries and red cabbage, can stop the growth of cancer cells found in the colon and in some cases even destroy them completely.
Purple corn was found to be particularly powerful in attacking cancerous cells. Tests involving the vegetable were found to kill 20 per cent of the cancer cells while having little effect on healthy cells.
Foods that contained smaller amounts of the compounds - such as radishes and black carrots - were able to slow the growth of colon cancer cells by between 50 and 80 per cent.
Other foods found to contain the anti-cancer compounds were chokeberries, bilberries, purple carrots and elderberries.
The study was carried out by scientists led by Dr Monica Giusti, an expert in plant nutrients from Ohio State University in the US. Their finding were presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.
They give hope that using anthocyanin-based colourants instead of synthetic food dyes could lead to a dramatic enhancement in the health benefits of some foods.
Source - Daily Mail