Nutrition and its influence on cancer (for better or worse!) is extremely controversial, to say the least! Once or twice weekly I will run one of many short posts from a series I like to call “Nutritional Myths Debunked.” Let’s start with one of the most controversial topics, antioxidants. But why is this controversial? Doesn’t everyone agree antioxidants are good for you and most likely help prevent cancer? Yes and no. Few would disagree eating foods high in antioxidants is a bad thing. The controversy emerges once someone begins to use antioxidant supplements. Here is a recent opinion on the subject issued by the American Cancer Association:

What are antioxidants, and what do they have to do with cancer?
The body appears to use certain nutrients in vegetables and fruits to protect against damage to tissues that occurs constantly as a result of normal metabolism (oxidation). Because such damage is linked with increased cancer risk, the so-called antioxidant nutrients are thought to protect against cancer. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and many other phytochemicals (chemicals from plants). Studies suggest that people who eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich sources of antioxidants, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer. Clinical studies of antioxidant supplements are currently under way but have not yet shown a reduction in cancer risk from vitamin or mineral supplements. To reduce cancer risk, the best advice at present is to consume antioxidants through food sources, rather than supplements

Eat your green peppers, blueberries and other brightly colored fruits and veggies and, of course, feel good and keep smiling! Pat

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