Fiber Gives Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants a Boost
A diet high in dietary fiber is not only promotes a healthy digestive system, but it also can help fight cancer by optimizing the role of antioxidants in cancer prevention.
Antioxidants are substances found naturally in foods. These substances can protect the body’ cells from damage caused by free radicals, molecules that can lead to the developments of cancer cells.
A study conducted by Anneline Padayachee from the University of Queensland and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that fiber binds up to 80 percent of antioxidant polyphenols in fruits and vegetables, and transport them to the colon where these compounds provide protection against cancers, particularly colon cancer.
In the study, Dr. Padayachee used black carrots, which are rich in two antioxidant polyphenols – anthocyanins and phenolic acids – to assess why plant-based diets generally lead to better gut health.
The result showed that when fruits and vegetables are juiced, chewed, or pureed, the cells in them are “opened”, allowing nutrients to be released, and 80 percent of available antioxidant polyphenols bind to plant fiber with minimal release during the stomach and small intestinal phases of digestion.
This finding also has implications for fresh juice lovers who are throwing out antioxidants and the fiber-rich pulp.
“In juicing, the fibrous pulp is usually discarded, which means you miss out on the health benefits of these antioxidants as well as the fiber,” Dr Padayachee said.
Further research to assess the mechanisms involved with fiber binding polyphenol antioxidants is currently being conducted at the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Most fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, carrots, tomatoes, and raspberries, are high in fiber. Apart from that, they are also contain many essential nutrients that are not only good for preventing cancer but also can keep your body healthy.