Blood vessels are a key component of our circulatory system, and angiogenesis is the natural process in our bodies that grows blood vessels. Angiogenesis is a defense system in our bodies that needs to be balanced.
When angiogenesis is balanced, we have the right number of blood vessels. That keeps everything else in balance, including other systems that are connected to the blood supply such as our heart, lungs, brain, and nerves, as well as the functioning of all our organs.
Cancer and Angiogenesis
With cancer, excessive angiogenesis is an imbalance that results in the growth of way too many blood vessels as the cancer cells establish their own blood supply, which feeds the disease. William Li and his colleagues1.discovered many inhibitors and mediators of angiogenesis in foods!
These foods contain bioactives, which are antioxidants and help keep the angiogenesis balance in check.
Food and Angiogenesis
Can we use food to treat cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis? YES! That’s the focus of Li’s research. According to Li:
Foods are the chemotherapy that we take three times a day
Angiogenesis-inhibiting foods prevent cancer cells from establishing their own blood supply, which helps us with cancer prevention and intervention. Many bioactives are very powerful mediators of healthy angiogenesis.
What kinds of foods are we talking about? Colorful antioxidant-rich whole plant-based foods.
This delicious anti-cancer smoothie is loaded with a whole host of powerful antioxidants, including:
anthocyanadins, proanthocyanidins. quercetin, flavan-3-ols, flavonoids, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, allyl sulfides, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium
Together, these powerful antioxidants:
- destroy free radicals
- support the immune system
- inhibit tumor cell growth
- detoxify harmful substances
- eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens
- build healthy cells and genetic material
- destroy cancer cells
- reduce cell division.
Plus this amazing smoothie is also loaded with fiber, which removes carcinogens.
Anti-Angiogenesis Purple Power Smoothie
Makes ~4 12-ounce servings.
- Leaves from ~1/2 purple cabbage, enough to fill a blender pitcher 1/2 – 2/3 full, tightly packed
- 1 medium apple, cored, with skin
- 1 banana
- ¼ lime, with skin
- 1 cup frozen berries and/or cherries
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- ½ cup frozen mango
- ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled (or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger)
- ½ inch piece of fresh turmeric, unpeeled (or ½ teaspoon powdered turmeric)
- Pack all ingredients except water into a Vitamix or blender.
- Add water until it reaches ~2/3 the height of the blender pitcher.
- Start the blender on low speed and gradually increase to high speed. Blend until smooth
1Li, W. W., Li, V. W, Hutnik, M., Chiou, A. S., Tumor Angiogenesis as a Target for Dietary Cancer Prevention, J. Oncol., 2012, v. 2012, p. 1-23.