Can you guess what fruits and/or vegetables are described below and what they all have in common?
- The ancient Greeks and Romans used the leaves of this vegetable in the wreaths that adorned winners of athletic competitions.
- Essential oils pressed from the tiny fruits of this plant are used for their calming, relaxing and uplifting effects…
- Curly and flat-leafed versions of this green plant have been cultivated and used throughout the world for more than 2,000 years as medicine, culinary ingredients and garnish.
- In England in the 1600s, ladies would decorate their coats, dresses and hats with the feathery leaves of this root vegetable.
Modern research shows compounds in all these plants can help reduce the risk of various types of cancer.
Read on to discover the answers, and how these plants fit into the cancer-fighting arsenal of today’s complementary and alternative medicine landscape.
Continued below. . .
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The answers are:
- Celery seed
And do you know what they all have in common?
They’re all members of the apiaceae family, which has been shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties. Other members of the apiaceae family include coriander, cilantro, fennel, parsnips, dill and cumin.
They’re all packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and trace elements.
You probably know these foods are good for you, but more and more research keeps coming forward to show just how important these foods are to good health.
Here’s what they give you. . .
Celery’s powerhouse nutrients
Domesticated celery that’s grown as a crop and found in grocery stores contains apigenin, a bioactive flavonoid that is effective against a variety of cancers.
A study published in the December 2016 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention found that apigenin can regulate cellular response to inflammation and protect against DNA damage. It can also prevent angiogenesis, the process where cancer cells create their own system of blood vessels to feed themselves.
Apigenin can promote cell cycle arrest, induce apoptosis (programmed death) in cancer cells, stop cancer cells from spreading and also alter gene expression associated with cancer growth.1
That’s quite a list of benefits.
Studies have proven apigenin is effective against breast cancer cells. Research results published in 2017 noted that senescent cells (aging cells that are often damaged by stress and inflammation) can display a certain variation denoted SASP that can drive or exacerbate several age-related pathologies, including cancer.2
In the study, the researchers found that treating these cells with apigenin suppressed SASP and concurrently reduced an aggressive type of human breast cancer. This lead them to conclude “apigenin is a promising natural product for reducing the impact of senescent cells on age-related diseases such as cancer.”
Wild celery has cancer-fighting compounds that domesticated celery does not. One of them is called iso-furanodiene. An article published in 2014 found iso-furanodiene could induce apoptosis in human colon cancer cells.3
Celery seeds also contain large concentrations of these beneficial compounds. In many cases the seeds are richer in these compounds than the leaves and stalks.
Compounds extracted from the celery seed have been shown to induce apoptosis in human prostate cancer cell lines,4 as well as in liver cancer in animal studies.5
Parsley can stop the spread of breast cancer
Flat-leafed parsley is used in thousands of recipes around the world. The curly-leafed variety is commonly used as a garnish at restaurants. Many of us ignore the garnish, but studies show it’s smarter to eat it.
Parsley contains apigenin, which by itself is good stuff. But the stems and leaves also contain other flavonoids such as apiin, crisoeriol and luteolin.
A 2017 study published in Cancer Research found that luteolin inhibits triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) from spreading to the lungs, a common and deadly occurrence.6 TNBC cancers are resistant to chemotherapy. People diagnosed with them would do well to check out natural remedies.
Luteolin is one of them. This nutrient can suppress several steps in the metastasis process, helping to keep the cancer local, and giving treatment a better a chance of working.
Anti-cancer carrots and their leaves
The carrot root is full of flavonoids, vitamins and minerals similar to those in the other family members mentioned above. But interest tends to focus on anthocyanins – a particular type of flavonoid that can help prevent and suppress the spread of colon cancer.7 The color of the carrot comes from the anthocyanins.
And you might want to step outside your usual habits. We usually think of carrots as orange in color, but they come in purple, red and yellow varieties as well. Those varied colors are rich in nutrition.
Now here’s something few people know: the carrot greens are also edible and highly nutritious.
Carrot greens have a slightly bitter taste, like a milder dandelion leaf. They’re good in salads and stir-fry dishes, and can be made into a medicinal tea.
Carrot greens contain six times the vitamin C of the root. They’re also rich in protein, trace minerals, vitamins and flavonoids that fight inflammation.8 Reducing inflammation and getting enough vitamins and nutrients is the first step to preventing cancer.
How to benefit from members of the apiaceae family
By now you see that these foods are great additions to your meals. There are dozens of ways you can include them. A few examples are:
- In a mirepoix (blend of carrots, celery and onion) whenever you make a soup or sauce
- Juiced with other vegetables
- In fruit smoothies to balance out the sugar and get the vegetable “in disguise”
Other great ideas are adding small amounts of parsley to your cooking (small amounts won’t alter the flavor of the dish), eating those parsley garnishes in restaurants, and using celery seed essential oil in a diffuser or blended with salad oil. Use essential oil of parsley as directed, it can be powerful stuff.
Whatever way you decide to incorporate the apiaceae family into your eating habits, be sure you choose organic. These fruits and vegetables have a high water content, which means they absorb a lot of heavy metals and pesticides from the soil.
Not a good idea for two medical conditions
Parsley contains oxalates, organic acids that our bodies produce and get from foods. Too many oxalates in the blood can crystalize and cause problems such as calcium oxalate kidney stones and joint inflammation. If you’ve had kidney stones or are at risk of developing them, ask your doctor about a diet high in oxalate-containing foods.
And apigenin, while helpful in cancer prevention, may interfere with the leukemia drug vincristine.9 So if you’re undergoing treatment for leukemia, check with a doctor before loading up on carrots, celery and the like.