Anti-Cancer Celebrations: World Ovarian Cancer Day

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day, and I have one word for you: flavonoids. These compounds give plants their color, and many appear to be anti-cancerous.

Professor Fei Wang, of the Center for Natural Products, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that the following flavonoids may be helpful in inhibiting estrogen-driven cancers. They work by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens into estrogens. Keep in mind that white button mushrooms are also good at inhibiting aromatase (and eat them raw to take advantage of compounds that bind to and help eliminate cancer cells.) 

Flavonoids that Inhibit Aromatase

Luteolin—Chinese celery, radicchio, some herbs/spices (dried celery seeds and leaves, dried Mexican oregano, fresh and dried thyme, juniper berries)

Apigenin–Parsley (fresh and dried) especially, chamomile, celery seed, dried Mexican oregano 

Myricetin—parsley, fennel leaves, spinach, Chinese broccoli, unpasteurized sauerkraut, walnuts, some berries (bilberries, goji, cranberries, black currants), sour cherries

 Isorhamnetin: dried parsley, dill, kale, mustard greens, chives

 Kaempferol and Quercetin: broccoli, capers, cloves, dill, kale, onion, watercress 

 Kaempferol (other sources): arugula, garden cress, endive, leeks, mustard greens, turnip greens, Welsh onions, some herbs/spices (caraway seeds, chives, cumin, saffron) 

 Quercetin (other sources):

  • vegetables: wild arugula, asparagus, dock, lovage, okra, radicchio, shallots
  • herbs and spices: cilantro/coriander, cloves, cumin, fennel leaves, juniper berries, dried Mexican oregano
  • peppers: hot yellow wax, hot green chili, jalapeno, serrano
  • berries: especially elderberries and cranberries
  • other fruits: apple skins, apricots, lemon juice, Black Diamond plums, tomatoes
  • grains, legumes, nuts, seeds: buckwheat, chia, quinoa, black-eyed peas, kidney, fava beans

 Sources: USDA Database for Flavonoids and Phenol Explorer

 How should you celebrate World Ovarian Cancer Day? Go out and buy some of these flavonoid-rich plant foods to beef up your anti-cancer recipes! 

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