In a study reported in a recent issue of Nutrition and Cancer, researchers in Milan uncovered an association between a lower risk of several types of cancer and an increased intake of flavonoids and proanthocyanidins.*
Carlo La Vecchia of the Università degli Studi di Milano and colleagues evaluated data in a network of case-control studies conducted at multiple Italian centers since the early 1990s. The studies included a total of 9,622 cases of cancer and 16,050 controls. The participants’ diets were analyzed for 6 classes of flavonoids, including isoflavones, anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavanones, flavones and flavonols, and 6 classes of proanthocyanidins.
“The findings from this large network of Italian case-control studies have provided support for an apparent protective role of flavanones on upper aerodigestive tract cancers; flavonols, anthocyanidins, and proanthocyanidins on colorectal cancer; flavonols and flavones on breast cancer; isoflavones on ovarian cancer; and flavonols on renal cancer,” the authors conclude.
Editor’s note: These polyphenolic compounds are found in fruit, vegetables, and plant-sourced beverages, and may be responsible for the protective effects observed for plant foods against a number of chronic diseases.