Red-colored food such as peppers, oranges, paprika, and tangerines among others, can significantly reduce lung cancer risk, says a new research. The idea have been discovered by researchers in 2004 when they found that a natural pigment called beta-cryptoxanthin (BCX) in many fruits and vegetables was able to reduce smokers' risk of developing lung cancer. But it was unclear exactly how it works.
Now, in a new research from Tufts University in Massachusetts, the molecular reasoning for this pigment’s powerful cancer-fighting skills have finally been uncovered. Tufts cancer researcher Xiang-Dong Wang and his team, using mice, discovered that BCX has the opposite reaction of nicotine on lung cells. It is able to decrease erratic cell growth and limit the cancer from spreading.
It’s the first study that have linked nicotine receptors on the surface of lung cells to BCX, according to the Tufts Now . Wang predicts that understanding BCX’s effect could lead to new prevention techniques of lung cancer risk, and could be implemented in dietary plans for patients having lung cancer treatment. It is also suggested for lung cancer survivors to ensure healthier lungs.
Wang and his team also discovered that BCX is able to counteract metastasis, or the spreading of lung cancer cells to different parts of the body. The team observed that mice purposely given a nicotine-derived carcinogen and w treated with BCX had fewer lung tumors than those who were not given any. According to the study, the greatest benefit in mice was the same as the daily human dose of about 870 micrograms, equivalent the amount contained in one sweet red pepper or a two tangerines daily, the Medical Daily says.
Also, human lung cancer cells in a petri dish treated with BCX migrated less than those that were not. Unfortunately, the study does not conclusively show that BCX has the ability to prevent or cure lung cancer. Still, the results are promising to reducing lung cancer risks, and the team hopes to better understand the cancer-killing nature of fruits and veggies with red and orange pigments.