Cruciferous vegetables such as turnips and bok choy have been found to improve breast cancer survival rate amongst a group of Chinese women participating in a recent study.
Data was used from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, researchers found that survivors who ate more cruciferous vegetables within the first 36 months following diagnosis had a higher survival rate than other breast cancer survivors within the study.
"Breast cancer survivors can follow the general nutritional guidelines of eating vegetables daily and may consider increasing intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as greens, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, as part of a healthy diet," said Sarah J Nechuta, MPH, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Vanderbilt University.
Dietary information of the breast cancer survivors was analysed using 3 different measures: at 6 months, 18 months and 36 months post-diagnosis. Following the analysis, it was found that the increased intake of cruciferous vegetables was associated with reduced risk of dying of breast cancer and a decreased risk of mortality overall. It was also found that the recurrence in a dose-response pattern was lower.
"Across increasing quartiles of cruciferous vegetable consumption, risk for total mortality decreased by 22% to 62%, and risk for recurrence decreased by 21% to 35%," the researchers noted.
The advantages of consuming Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are known for containing an abundance of nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid. Their most physiologically beneficial components are phytonutrients, which are thought to protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress, or inhibiting the growth of certain types of cancer cells.
"Cruciferous vegetables contain high amounts of glucosinolates, which are hydrolysed to bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates (ITCs) and indoles," said Dr Nechuta.
"These bioactive compounds have many anti-cancer properties that may influence cancer development, progression and survival. For example, ITCs and indole-3-carbinol have been shown to reduce tumour proliferation in human breast cancer cells."
It was added that the level of bioactive compounds that is produced and the type and amount of cruciferous vegetables consumed leading to anticancer effects is still unknown.
"Future studies with direct measurements of bioactive compounds and host factors that influence the effects of these biological compounds are needed to better understand the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with breast cancer outcomes," Researchers said.
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
Study: 'Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption Linked to Improved Breast Cancer Survival Rates'