Eat A Peach — Or Three

Compounds in peaches can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and their ability to spread, say researchers at Washington State University.

They implanted breast cancers cells beneath the skin of mice. After giving the cells a week to establish, the researchers fed the mice varying doses of peach polyphenols, compounds that help plants ward off the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

“The surprise was we analyzed lungs and beside the fact that the peach compounds inhibited the growth of the tumour, they also inhibited the metastasis levels on the lungs,”
explained food scientist Giuliana Noratto.

Moreover, after 12 days the researchers saw that mice fed with high levels of polyphenols had tumours that grew less and without much of the blood vessel formation that can help cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. The tumours in those mice also had less evidence of enzymes involved in the spread and invasion of cancer.

The doses given the mice, if scaled up to a 132-pound person, could be supplied by two to three peaches a day or a dietary supplement of peach polyphenol extract powder.

“I would do three peaches a day,” said Noratto, a native of Peru.

“We have a huge tradition of medicinal plants,” she said. “We are great believers that you can cure yourself by having a good diet and a good supply of medicinal plants.”

The study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, also underscores the value of good nutrition in preventing cancer, she said.

“Having enough fruits and vegetables that can provide these compounds in our diet, we might have a similar preventive effect,” said Noratto.