What is an Antiangiogenic Diet?

What is an Antiangiogenic Diet?

It’s an “anti-cancer diet” and an “anti-inflammatory diet.”
In cancer treatment, an antiangiogenic diet may prevent
the growth of new blood vessels that assist tumors in continuing to grow.

​​​​​​In Greek, “angio” means vessels, and “genesis” means birth – thus, angiogenesis is the creation of new blood vessels. Blocking angiogenesis in cancerous tumors enables us to undercut the spread of the disease.

Cancers can hijack the process of angiogenesis to recruit their private blood supply and feed themselves. Without these lifelines, cancers remain tiny and can’t become dangerous. Many foods, spices, and beverages contain natural cancer-starved molecules that prevent tumors from acquiring blood vessels.

Why not choose foods that can help reduce your risk of disease?
Nutrients are like fuel for your body. They give you energy. And they keep your heart beating, your brain active, and your muscles working. They also help to build and strengthen bones, muscles, and other body tissues.

Foods can either be good for you or suitable for the disease.

Research suggests that certain food compounds, such as green tea, red grapes, papaya, avocados, kale, quinoa, flaxseed, oolong tea, cocoa, walnuts, tomato sauce, and artichokes, may also inhibit angiogenesis.

Herbs and spices are the most concentrated food sources of polyphenols, a class of phytonutrients containing many antiangiogenic compounds. The other top ten (out of more than 450 foods tested) were berries, cocoa powder, and ground flaxseeds.

Many of the phenolic substances identified in quinoa, including genistein, quercetin, and kaempferol, have antiangiogenic properties or inhibit new blood vessel growth and suppress the proliferation of cancer cells. The edible seeds of the quinoa plant are rich in protein, unsaturated fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Quinoa also contains beneficial polyphenols that may help reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer risk.

Studies have shown daily consumption of flaxseed, aka linseed, actually increases levels of a natural angiogenesis inhibitor called endostatin. In the study, healthy premenopausal women with 25 grams of freshly ground flaxseed added to their daily diets significantly increased endostatin levels in their breast tissue. Endostatin is an endogenous (naturally occurring) substance in the body that inhibits angiogenesis. This is one of the first studies to show that a particular food can raise levels of an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor in the body.

Red grapes are high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants shown in numerous studies to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and heart-protecting effects. Extracts from grapes and their seeds contain various polyphenols with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity, including resveratrol, gallic acid, epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (ECG), epicatechin-3-gallate, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. The cancer-fighting properties of these compounds have been attributed to their ability to inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells while suppressing the growth of tumor blood vessels (angiogenesis).

Did you know that chocolate is a fermented byproduct from processed cocoa? It contains high levels of bioactive flavonoids (polyphenols) formed during fermentation. Two flavonoids, catechins, and procyanidins, are highly concentrated in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Observational studies indicate that catechins and procyanidins may protect against several diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Both catechins and procyanidins have chemoprotective activities because they inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, reduce inflammation, remove toxins from the body, and suppress angiogenesis.

Walnuts contain several compounds with anti-tumor effects. One of these, ellagic acid, has been shown to inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and angiogenesis in several laboratory studies. Flaxseed oil has a similar effect as walnuts on tumor growth but does not suppress angiogenesis to the same degree.

Tomatoes and processed tomato products contain lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant with potent antioxidant and antiangiogenic activity. Regular consumption of foods containing lycopene has been found to reduce the risk for some cancers, making it intriguing as a dietary supplement for cancer prevention. Researchers discovered that regular consumption of tomato paste can protect against skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), such as that which occurs with long-term sun exposure.

Recent studies have provided more evidence that foods high in carotenoids, natural organic pigments with antiangiogenic properties, could lower the risk of certain cancers. Carotenoids, such as lycopene, are found in many brightly colored fruits and vegetables. The tropical fruit papaya is an excellent source. One study found that consumption of high levels of carotenoids from papayas was associated with a 50% risk reduction of breast cancer. Papaya is high in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin and has also demonstrated a decrease in the risk of gallbladder cancer. These findings suggest that the benefits of carotenoid circulation are most effective in women with a higher risk of breast cancer.

Avocados contain antiangiogenic compounds such as lutein, which were studied for their cancer-fighting abilities. In laboratory mice, lutein was shown to have a significant protective effect against colon cancer. In other research, lutein was used to prevent the proliferation of blood vessels in the eyes of mice. This may eventually prove valuable in preventing eye diseases spurred by uncontrolled blood vessel growth, which can ultimately cause blindness. Finally, recent research has suggested that the content of carotenoids like lutein is highest in avocados that have ripened for less than ten days after harvesting.

Epidemiological studies have shown that people who regularly drink coffee are at reduced risk for several types of cancer. In one pooled analysis of two prospective cohort studies, Japanese researchers found about a 40% decreased risk of primary liver cancer among people who drank at least one cup of coffee per day compared with those who didn’t drink any. Coffee contains hundreds of bioactive substances, including chlorogenic acid, some anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic. Unfiltered coffee contains another substance called kahweol, which has been shown in a series of experiments as a potent angiogenesis inhibitor. My only concern with coffee is ensuring it’s organic and tested for mold.

Natural Remedies

As one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, spirulina packs a potent punch of health benefits! Spirulina, blue-green algae, is considered a “complete protein,” meaning that it contains the amino acids your body needs but can’t make on its own.

Spirulina has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and research suggests that spirulina has anti-cancer properties. Supplementing daily with spirulina can improve blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with blood pressure numbers and help control blood sugar, which could make it an ally in the battle against heart disease.

Graviola, AKA soursop or Brazilian paw, contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help manage blood sugar and blood pressure and is a natural remedy for pain relief, viruses, and even some types of cancer.

Here are some supplements and dose ranges of phytochemicals used by an herbalist for angiogenesis inhibition: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1891180/)

~Turmeric (95% curcumin)
~Green tea (95% phenols; 50% egcg)
~Grape seed extract (95% proanthocyanidin)
~Japanese knotweed (20% resveratrol)
~Quercetin with bromelain 500–1500 mg daily
~Holy basil and rosemary (2.37% and 1.5% ursolic acid)
~Silibinin (80% silymarin) 200 mg daily

Vitamin B6 inhibits angiogenesis by inhibiting microvessel outgrowth and suppressing the proliferation of endothelial cells.

Vitamin B9, and Folic acid, inhibits angiogenesis by decreasing proliferation of endothelial cells, resulting in cell cycle arrest.

Explore these with your medical practitioner, as this is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice.

Bottom Line

When choosing what to eat or drink, ask yourself, what will this food do for me? Will it provide energy, feed my skin and cells, and assist me in protection against disease, or am I feeding my body with foods that will feed disease? Becoming a mindful eater can help you make important decisions about how you are fueling your body.

Fuel Your Body, not the disease.

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