Give your body the anti-cancer, anti-heart disease signal

Deep in the recesses of your body, you may be releasing proteins that can do you harm. Two simple foods you should eat today can alter these proteins and slash your chances for cancer and heart disease.

In the search for why fruits and vegetables lower the risk for serious disease, researchers at the Institute for Food Research in England have analyzed compounds in apples and green tea called polyphenols.

Their tests show that nutrients in these foods can intercept a protein called VEGF that might otherwise create blockages in your arteries, or spread cancer in your inner organs.

VEGF causes problems in the body by instigating blood vessel formation where you don’t want it to occur. This formation, known as angiogenesis, is a key step in the creation of tumors. The new blood vessels keep tumor cells fed and expanding.

This is also part of stimulating the plaques that cut off blood flow to the heart. Aside from obstructing blood, those plaques can rupture, leading to sudden cardiac death and potentially fatal blood clots.

In lab tests, the scientists demonstrated that the powerful antioxidant EGCG from green tea (epigallocatechin gallate) and a polyphenol from apples (procyanidin) can silence the signaling of VEGF. What does that mean? It makes the protein harmless.

These phytochemicals have other benefits as well. At the same time as they turn off harmful metabolic signals, they help switch on an enzymatic process that creates extra nitric oxide in the circulating blood. Nitric oxide can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow by expanding blood vessels.

So the next time you’re in the mood for an afternoon munch, make yourself a cup of green tea and reach for an organic apple (which has fewer pesticide residues than a conventional apple).

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.