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The Sweet Potato – An Unexpected Weapon against Breast Cancer?

Natural diets based on fresh and organic fruits and vegetables are commonly recommended for preventing and managing cancer diagnoses. While there is clear evidence that they provide a wide variety of health benefits, there isn’t a lot of specific data on which greens are more effective and the mechanism involved. China has invested heavily in [...]

Natural diets based on fresh and organic fruits and vegetables are commonly recommended for preventing and managing cancer diagnoses. While there is clear evidence that they provide a wide variety of health benefits, there isn’t a lot of specific data on which greens are more effective and the mechanism involved.

China has invested heavily in healthcare and medical research in later years and now has a very respectable scientific community. Articles published by Chinese teams regularly make the news, as is with this story.

A recent study has put forward some interesting claims about the potential anti-cancer properties of sweet potatoes. It is all based on a newly isolated phytosterol, β-sitosterol-D-glucoside (β-SDG), though the specific interactions are still unclear.

Estimates say that a high percentage of women, about 1 in 8, will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In the U.S, more than 260.000 new cases are expected just in 2018 alone, along with 40.000 fatalities. Men are also at risk, though in their case percentages are considerably lower.

The article examined the influence β-SDG has on breast cancer cell lines, with a focus on MCF7 and MDA-MB-231. Results “indicated that β-SDG exhibited cytotoxic activities on MCF7/MDA-MB-231 cells via inducing apoptosis, and activated the caspase proteases in these cells”.

Apoptosis is basically a form of programmed cell death, and scientist managed to target the cancer cells by blocking certain signaling pathways using this extract.

Research is still in the initial stages and many more tests and trials are required before turning this compound into actual medicine. In the meantime, you should consider including sweet potatoes more into your diet to increase your chances of having a long and cancer-free life.

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