Functional Foods for Health Maintenance: Understanding their Role in Cancer Prevention

Unravelling the Role of Vegetables, Pulses and Spices as Therapeutic and Chemopreventive Agents

Author(s): Vandana Garg, Anjali, Kiran Kangra and Rohit Dutt * .

Pp: 1-25 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815179217123010004

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Worldwide, cancer has become the most life-threatening disease. The current remedial treatment of cancer includes chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant and hormone therapy. Plants produce secondary metabolites in abundance having medicinal properties used for treating various diseases, such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, fever, diarrhoea and bacterial and fungal infections. Naturally derived components are largely considered by scientists and researchers due to their low toxicity and lesser side effects. Functional foods are the food or food components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Functional foods simply provide nutrients that help to maintain health, thereby reducing the risk of disease. Various vegetables like Asparagus racemosus, Cocos nucifera, Brassica oleracea var. Botrytis, Zingiber officinale, Atrocarpus heterophyllus, etc., pulses, i.e., Cicer arietinum, Phaseolus vulgaris, Vigna radiate, Vigna mungo, etc., and Spices viz., Ferula asafoetida, Piper nigrum, Elettaria cardamomum, Coriandrum sativum, Nigella sativa and Curcuma longa, are explored for their potential role to fight many diseases and anticancer activity. This review aims to highlight the protective and synergistic role of functional foods in cancer prevention.

Keywords: Anticancer activity, Chemotherapy, Hormone therapy, Immunotherapy, Life-threatening disease, Secondary metabolites, Surgery, Stem cell transplant.

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