It’s been known for a long time that burnt meat contains substances that are carcinogenic. People who frequently eat charred burgers and steaks are at greater risk for cancer. But, researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University say, what you eat with that meat may offset at least some of that risk.
The protective food is spinach. In tests with laboratory animals, Popeye’s favorite food cut the incidence of colon tumors caused by charred carcinogens by nearly half, from 58 percent to 32 percent.
The scientists have found that although carcinogens in overcooked meat can harmfully change gene expression and cell behavior, phytochemicals in spinach may help the body protect itself from the consequences.
“Cancer development is a complex, multi-step process, with damaged cells arising through various means,” points out Mansi Parasramka, a postdoctoral scholar with the Institute. “This study showed that alterations of microRNAs affect cancer stem cell markers in colon cancer formation. MicroRNAs are very small factors that do very big things in cells.”
But spinach can put your cells back on the track to better health.