Christmas dinner: Seasonal veg reduces risk of cancer, study suggests

Christmas dinner: Seasonal veg reduces risk of cancer, study suggests
  • PublishedDecember 20, 2023

The research concluded that eating the whole carrot, rather than carotenes –  the compound causing the pigment of the vegetable – could stave off cancer.

The traditional Christmas dinner can have health benefits that reduce the risk of cancer, scientists have found.

Carrots in particular were found to provide an anti-cancer effect when consumed in sufficient quantity.

Eating five servings of carrots per week was linked to a 20% reduction in developing all types of cancer, according to a study at Newcastle University.

Even consuming just one serving per week still contributed to a reduction, with a 4% lower chance of getting the disease compared to people who never eat carrots.

The study concluded that eating the whole carrot, rather than carotenes – the compound causing the pigment of the vegetable – could stave off cancer.

carrots
Image:Eating the whole carrot, rather than carotenes could stave off cancer

Scientists looked at nearly 200 studies and 4.7 million participants for their research.

Leading the study, Charles Ojobor explained how there was a vast amount of data for them to analyse given previous research on the benefits of carrots.

He said that most of these studies focussed on beta-carotene, which give carrots their orange colour, but the compound “did not show much beneficial effect on cancer in controlled experiments”.

Mr Ojobor said: “As a result, we studied carrots due to their content of a different type of phytochemicals, polyacetylenes, which are colourless but have strong effects on cancer.

“For our study, we looked at different types of cancer and our analysis showed that people who eat five portions of carrots per week had a 20% reduced risk of developing the disease.”

And eating Brussels sprouts can help the body fight cancer and chronic conditions such as diabetes, scientists said, providing they are steamed as this preserves more of their health-giving qualities than roasting or boiling them.

Homemade Roasted Green Brussel Sprouts in a Bowl
Image:Steaming sprouts instead of roasting preserves their health-giving qualities

Steaming them retains glucosinolates, an important molecule that interacts with proteins associated with repairing damaged DNA and promoting cell death in cancer tumours.

Dr Kirsten Brandt, senior lecturer in food and human nutrition at Newcastle University, said: “If you boil the Brussels sprouts then you lose a lot of the important compounds into the water.

“If you roast them, they are being broken down during the cooking, so steaming is the one that gives most of these tasty and healthy compounds in the final product.”

Experts also concluded Rooster potatoes were “perfect” for making the best roast potato due to their red skins and golden interiors when peeled.

Potatoes are packed with fibre and can be cooked to a healthier standard in an air fryer.

SOURCE: SKYNEWS

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