Meta-analysis of different population based studies have previously shown an inverse association of higher intake of cruciferous vegetables and the risk of different cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and many others. A recent clinical study conducted by the researchers in New York found a reduced risk of stomach cancer with higher consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables : For cancer, right nutrition / diet matters.
Cruciferous vegetables are a part of the Brassica family of plants which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, arugula, turnip greens, watercress and mustard. These are named so as their four-petal flowers resemble a cross or crucifer (one who carries a cross). Cruciferous vegetables are no less than any superfoods, as these are packed with several nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants & dietary fibers including sulforaphane, genistein, melatonin, folic acid, indole-3-carbinol, carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and more. In the last two decades, the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with the risk of different types of cancer were extensively studied and researchers mostly found an inverse association between the two. But, will adding cruciferous vegetables to our diet reduce the risk of Stomach Cancer? Let’s glance through a recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer and understand what the experts say!
Cruciferous Vegetables & Stomach Cancer Risk
A clinical study conducted at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, analyzed a questionnaire-based data from patients who were recruited between 1992 and 1998 as part of the Patient Epidemiology Data System (PEDS).(Maia E. W. Morrison et al, Nutr Cancer.,2020) The study included data from 292 stomach cancer patients and 1168 cancer-free patients with non-cancer diagnoses. 93% of the patients included for the study were Caucasian and were aged between 20 and 95 years. Below is the summary of the key findings of the study:
- High intake of total cruciferous vegetables, raw cruciferous vegetables, raw broccoli, raw cauliflower and Brussels sprouts was associated with 41%, 47%, 39%, 49% and 34% reduction in the risk of stomach cancer respectively.
- High intake of total vegetables, cooked cruciferous, non-cruciferous vegetables, cooked Broccoli, cooked cabbage, raw cabbage, cooked cauliflower, greens and kale and sauerkraut had no significant association with the risk of stomach cancer.
In short, this study suggested that high intake of raw cruciferous vegetables may be associated with a low risk of stomach cancer. The chemopreventive property as well as the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-estrogenic properties of the cruciferous vegetables may be attributed to their key active compounds/micronutrients such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Many previous population-based studies have also shown strong association between higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables and reduced risk of other types of cancers including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer and breast cancer (American Institute of Cancer Research). The bottom line is, adding cruciferous vegetables to our daily diet in adequate amounts may help us reap health benefits including cancer prevention.
Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.