“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”; Research explores Hippocrates’s adage

Are you eating at least five fruits and vegetables every day?

A new study published in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that some compounds found largely in fruits and vegetables called “flavonoids may reduce incidence and improve survival” for some cancers.

It is well-known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to one’s health and well-being.  What is particularly exciting about this research is that it specifically focused on the two common types of esophageal cancer and gastric cancer.

The study is titled “Dietary intake of flavonoids and oesophageal and gastric cancer: incidence and survival in the United States of America (USA).”

Researchers interviewed patients that were diagnosed with esophageal cancer, both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and gastric cancer (adenocarcinoma).

Esophageal adenocarcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer in the western world and is the fastest growing cancer in the United States.*  

Also one of the deadliest cancers, esophageal cancer shows extremely poor survival rates, as the cancer is extremely aggressive and is typically caught in later, advanced stages. Currently, there are no routine or standard screenings to detect esophageal cancer in earlier stages.  The overall five-year survival rate is less than 18%.

According to the published abstract found on British Journal’s website, the researchers linked patients’ responses from food frequency questionnaires with USDA Flavonoid Databases and available literature for six flavonoid classes and lignans (chemical compound found in plants).

The abstract details that “flavonoids have experimentally demonstrated chemopreventive effects against esophageal and gastric cancers,” but there have been few studies which examine “flavonoid intake and incidence of these cancers and none have considered survival.”

While fruits and vegetables are the main sources of flavonoids, tea and red wine also contain the compound.

Certain fruits and vegetables can cause symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).  Therefore, acid reflux sufferers should be careful about consuming certain spicy, citrus and/or acidic food and drinks and should limit or completely avoid drinking wine.  It is important to speak to your doctor before making any changes to your health.

“Our findings, if confirmed, suggest that increased dietary anthocyanidin intake may reduce incidence and improve survival for these cancers,”  researchers stated.  To read the full abstract, please click here.




British Journal of Cancer, 10 February 2015; doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.25 bjcancer.com

“Esophageal Cancer On The Rise,” WebMD



The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Content found on Salgi.org is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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