Evidence summaries are original articles reviewing the results from breakthrough research studies, written in a style that is intelligent but accessible. Eat to Beat evidence is based on both scientific and epidemiological data.
EVIDENCE FROM EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES
Epidemiology is the study of factors that influence health in real world populations. Typically, epidemiological studies try to find associations between dietary, behavioral, environmental or genetic factors and the development of diseases. These studies usually involved large numbers of people, sometimes tens of thousands, who are observed, or “followed”, for many years. The links between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and regular aspirin use and fewer heart attacks are two well-known findings from epidemiological studies.
In the area of diet, epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of certain foods containing naturally occurring angiogenesis inhibitors, such as tomatoes, soy, tea, and other fruits and vegetables, decrease the risk of angiogenesis-dependent diseases. This has been best demonstrated as a reduced risk for developing cancer among people whose diets contain large amounts of these foods.
Basic scientific research looks at the way substances affect our bodies at the cellular and molecular level. While foods contain hundreds of molecules that may impact on the body in different ways, an important common mechanism of the dietary products we study is that they all inhibit angiogenesis, or new blood vessel growth. Inhibiting angiogenesis cuts off a cancerous tumor’s blood supply, thus starving the cancer of oxygen and nutrients.
Since Dr. Folkman’s seminal discovery in the early 1970s that blocking angiogenesis could keep microscopic early cancers dorm, laboratory research has shown that many foods and beverages contain potent, naturally occurring angiogenesis inhibitors. Adriana Albini of Italy coined the term ‘angioprevention’ in 1997 to describe cancer prevention by angiogenesis inhibition.