Fruit and veg keep cancer at bay

From protecting you against cancers to sunburn, scientists can now explain the value of fruit and vegetables in our diet.

Small red tomatoes nestling among green peppers, sliced carrots and spring onions not only brighten up a salad but also give some protection against a wide variety of cancers. They have other more mundane properties as well. Holidaymakers in France and Spain may be less likely to suffer sunburn and prematurely aged skin if they eat tomatoes, rich in lycopene, and other fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids.

Carotenoids are the micronutrients, mainly dark yellow or red, that give some fruits and vegetables their colour and health-giving powers. Tomato juice or ketchup with the fish and salad won't in any way replace a high-factor sunscreen, but it offers some protective action against inflammation, premature skin ageing, photo-sensitivity disorders and some skin cancers.
The carotenoids in tomatoes, peppers and pomegranates once eaten are later widely distributed in the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin. In the skin they help to absorb the light, act as antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory response to sunburn. They act by increasing the circulation of the blood to the skin and thus its nutrition. The better skin nutrition the less its scaliness and roughness, and more improved its thickness and hydration.

Scientists attending the First International Congress on Nutrition and Cancer in Turkey last week discussed the effect of nutrition on skin health as well as on malignancies. The study of nutrition is increasingly moving from a focus on diet to food science. It is now accepted that the diet enjoyed by those living in the Far East or the Mediterranean countries has advantages over typical Western fare and contributes to a longer life. Scientists can now explain the biochemical mechanism and demonstrate how the micronutrients in the diet can interfere with the body's cellular pathways to help to prevent cancer.

Source - Times

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