Colon cancer is one of the most common tumor diseases and in some cases, especially if detected late, it can be fatal. Fortunately, there are certain healthy habits that can lower your risk of it.
One of them is the abundant consumption of spinach , since according to some previous research (including one from Oregon State University, published in the Journal of Cellular and Mollecular Medicine ) is related to lower incidences of colorectal cancer. So far the cause was unknown, but a new study by the TAMU Health Science Center , published in the specialized journal Gut Microbes , has shed light on the issue.
Spinach delays the need for intensive treatment
Specifically, researchers have explored the effects of spinach in mice with an inherited form of colorectal cancer that also affects people, called familial adenomatous polyposis.
This form of cancer is characterized by the appearance of numerous non-cancerous polyps in the colon. Often, it ends up requiring removal of the colon and the administration of toxic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent the growth of polyps in the duodenum.
The result is that, with the administration of spinach for six months, the growth of the polyps was considerably delayed.
Fatty acids and linoleic acid, responsible for the benefits
However, the novelty of this study is that it investigates the mechanism by which this happens using a system called multi-omics, consisting of crossing data from different body systems in search of potential research areas.
More specifically, the authors investigated the microbiome (the set of harmful and beneficial microorganisms in the intestines), the transcriptome (the RNA and mRNA that cells and tissues express, including those responsible for familial adenomatous polyposis) and the metabolome (the metabolites that cells produce during metabolic activity).
Contrary to what they expected, chlorophyll was not the substance responsible for the anticancer effects, but this role was played by some fatty acids and linoleic acid, which spinach contains in abundance.
This happened mainly in two ways: on the one hand, these substances helped to minimize the loss of diversity in the microbiome (and specifically the reduction in the population of certain bacteria) associated with colorectal tumors and, on the other, they had a modest but observable in the genomic expression of cancer . Both effects could be corroborated by examining the metabolome.
The authors end by recommending the regular consumption of spinach, not only for this property but also because it contains abundant beneficial components for various systems of our body such as vitamin k1, folate or various antioxidants.