Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Teresa L. Johnson, MSPH, RDN, is a nutrition and health communications consultant with a long-time interest in the role of plant-based diets and cancer prevention. Her work draws on elements of nutritional biochemistry, phytochemistry, toxicology, and epidemiology.
A new study published in BMC Medicine suggests that eating just a handful of nuts every day can reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart diseases, which account for more than 25 million deaths per year worldwide.
Nuts contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and many beneficial phytochemicals. Some research suggests that eating nuts might lower cholesterol and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes.
The annual conference, held this year in New Orleans, focuses on the basic science, treatment, and prevention of obesity. It is an important topic because obesity links to several types of cancer, including post-menopausal breast, advanced prostate, and colorectal.
Highlighted below are three of the winners of the AICR research poster competition, which was announced yesterday. The research focused on how genetics, physical activity, and nutrients influence cancer risk, treatment, and survival.
Research shows that eating high amounts of red meat increases risk of colorectal cancer, possibly because it may spur inflammation. A new animal study published in The Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences now points to a sugar molecule found in red meat as one mechanism responsible.
The molecule called N-glycolylneuraminic acid, or Neu5Gc for short, sticks to the ends of sugars found in red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb. Although most mammals produce Neu5Gc, humans don’t. Humans are “immunized” against Neu5Gc shortly after birth by an unusual process involving gut bacteria. As a result, when people eat foods that contain Neu5Gc, we produce antibodies that react to Neu5Gc, triggering inflammation.
Previous research has detected relatively high amounts of Neu5Gc in cancerous tissue.
In foods, Neu5Gc can be free or it can be bound to the ends of long sugar chains attached to proteins. The bound form is highly bioavailable, meaning it can easily be taken up into the body’s cells. Neu5Gc tends to accumulate in cells of the colon, prostate, and ovary. Read more… “Study Gives New Insights on Red Meat, a Sugar, and Cancer”
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