Apr 13, 2015 03:37 PM EDT
Compounds in Green Tea, Apples Could Protect Health
Adding green tea and apples to your diet could protect the body from chronic diseases, according to a recent study.
Scientists from the Institute of Food Research found that food compounds called polyphenols in green tea and apples block a signaling molecule called VEGF, which in the body can trigger atherosclerosis and is a target for some anti-cancer drugs.
In the body, VEGF is a main driver of blood vessel formation in these cell types via a process called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is crucial in cancer progression, as well as in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and plaque rupture which can cause heart attacks and stroke.
Previous 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.
For the study, researchers examined cells derived from human blood vessels and found that low concentrations of the polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and procyanidin from apples stopped a crucial signaling function of VEGF.
Inhibition of VEGF signaling by dietary polyphenols has previously been implicated in other studies, but 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.
"If this effect happens in the body as well, it provides very strong evidence for a mechanism that links dietary polyphenols and beneficial health effects," Dr. Paul Kroon, who led the study, said in a statement.
The findings are detailed in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
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