Rhubarb is a colorful and flavorful, yet underappreciated, vegetable that is at its peak this time of year. Though not common in most people’s diets, this tart plant may offer cancer-preventive properties in several respects.
The edible part of the rhubarb plant—the stalk—contains anthocyanins, which yield its bright red color. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid found in foods such as berries, red onions, black beans, red grapes and black plums. They act as antioxidants in test tube studies, but in the human body, their protection seems more likely to come from their role in cancer-preventive cell signaling. Anthocyanins have demonstrated protective effects on blood vessels and blood pressure, and recent research suggests that anthocyanins may offer anti-cancer benefits, too.
With the weather warming and the days becoming longer, we begin breaking out of our homes and shaking off the last dregs of winter. Americans enjoy a renewed interest in outdoor activities with the warmer weather—and while there’s no shortage of outdoor activities, gardening is one that can help boost physical activity levels as well as the number of veggies on your plate.
Gardening is a wonderful activity because it’s scaleable—if you have a small space, like an apartment, you can use window boxes to grow smaller plants like herbs, or find a community garden that has a plot that you can use. If your space is larger, you can grow vegetables like peppers and eggplants, and you might even want to try fruits like strawberries.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. AICR is raising awareness and providing the latest research on oral cancer prevention and sharing tips on managing nutrition during treatment. Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth (lips, tongue and cheeks), pharynx and larynx.
Tobacco use and alcohol are the most important risk factors for this cancer. AICR’s CUP report on cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx found strong evidence that drinking alcohol and having excess body fat increase risk. Evidence suggests that nutrition can play a crucial role in preventing oral cancer. Having an overall healthy diet and including plenty of vegetables may be helpful in decreasing the risk of cancer.