Green tea and apples against chronic diseases

13 Apr 2015

Scientists from the Institute of Food Research have found evidence for a mechanism by which certain food compounds could help protect our health.

In particular, dietary studies have shown that people who eat the largest amounts of fruit and vegetables have a reduced risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. There could be partially explained by the fact that some fruit and vegetables naturally contain high amounts of compounds called polyphenols, which could provide protective health benefits.

Mechanism of action

In this study, Dr Paul Kroon and his team at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) have shown that polyphenols in green tea and apples block a signaling molecule called VEGF, a possible atherosclerosis factor and a target for some anti-cancer drugs.

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In the body, VEGF is a main driver of blood vessel formation in these cell types via a process called angiogenesis, crucial in cancer progression and in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and plaque rupture which can cause heart attacks and stroke

Significant study results

Using cells derived from human blood vessels, the researchers found that low concentrations of the polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and procyanidin from apples stopped a crucial signaling function of VEGF.

This study provides the first evidence that polyphenols can directly interact with VEGF to block its signals, at the levels you would see in the blood stream after eating polyphenol rich foods.

Source: Science Daily
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