Thursday, December 9, 2010

Papaya can reduce cancer rates

Excerpt from an article written by by Katherine Scott on the Here's the Evidence blog.

Summary: Papaya fruit contains high levels of a pigment called beta-cryptoxanthin that can reduce cancer rates even in high risk patients.

Papaya, a rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C and folate, was described as “the fruit of the angels” by Christopher Colombus when he first discovered its juicy orange flesh in its native Central America. On top of all that, papaya may also help fight cancer.

What makes papaya flesh so vibrantly orange are naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids. The major dietary carotenoids in papaya are lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene and beta-crytoxanthin. The first three are more commonly known and have been associated with improving vision and reducing prostate cancer risk, but beta-cryptoxanthin is what makes papayas so special.

Remarkably, one of the actions of beta-cryptoxanthin is to inhibit new blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis, which is essential for new cancers to develop. If tiny clumps of cancer cells in the body cannot establish their own blood supply, they never grow into large, malignant tumors. Because beta-cryptoxanthin have the potential to stop cancers before they start, regular papaya consumption could reduce cancer rates in even high-risk populations.