Antimutagens and anticarcinogens in foods
Abstract The role of dietary factors in the prevention of major chronic diseases, cancer in particular, is under intensive investigation by many laboratories around the world. Evidence from epidemiological studies and tests in laboratory animals suggests that food consumed by the general population contains certain ingredients that may have a role in reduction of the incidence of cancer. It has been observed that a number of regular food components, belonging to different chemical groups, do possess cancer preventive and/or beneficial outcomes for some other diseases; these chemicals, therefore, are frequently collectively known as 'chemopreventers'. The mode of action of most chemopreventers is still unknown, although it appears that many of them are antioxidants, and as such, they may scavenge free radicals, formed either during the preparation of food, or by biological processes in the body. As free radicals damage lipids, proteins, cell membranes and DNA, their removal could prevent development of certain chronic diseases, particularly cancer or atherosclerosis. This review summarizes recent developments in the search for beneficial effects of regular food ingredients in prevention of cancer.