Making a commitment to eating a rainbow of colours when it comes to fruits and vegetables is important not only for your palate but also for your gut. Your gut houses the majority of your microbiome, your community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms, and eating your fruits and veggies helps to maintain a healthy balance of these organisms. Fruits and vegetables also offer vast health benefits from a variety of over 6000 flavonoids, a class of phytonutrients, that provide pigment to plants and are commonly noted for their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. But as research is uncovering, many flavonoids possess other health benefits including anti-cancer properties. And it is here that we come full circle. We need a healthy gut microbiome to convert flavonoids to their health promoting metabolites.
Apigenin is a type of flavonoid that has been studied extensively for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Apigenin has been shown to possess anti-carcinogenic properties on a variety of cancers including pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancer and is also being examined for its effects when combined with chemotherapy agents.
Apigenin is found in a variety of foods and herbs such as apples, broccoli, basil, onions, artichoke, oregano, chamomile and cilantro. But it is most prominently concentrated in parsley and celery, two of the most commonly used staples in our kitchen.
Celery is labeled as the go to for making soups and broths and as the key to a successful calorie restriction plan as it is full of water (95% of it is in fact H2O) and fiber, the perfect combination for the war against weight. Now you can add celery’s cancer fighting properties to its list of healthy benefits. And Mother Nature has made it so convenient to consume and the perfect vehicle for dips and nut butters.
Parsley is the most widely used herb in kitchens. And for good reason:
- It comes in many varieties.
- It’s available all year round.
- It’s easy to grow.
- It freshens your breath.
- It has a very pleasant taste in a wide variety of dishes.
As well as the noted Apigenin flavonoid, parsley is high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C and is a good source of Vitamin A.
Chemoprotective foods such as celery and parsley can be easily incorporated in to our daily diet and they are just two examples of how nature provides us with powerful weapons in our cancer prevention and cancer fighting arsenals.