Collards, kale, spinach and other leafy greens contain nutrients that may protect the lungs, according to an epidemiological study published in the January 15, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
Previous epidemiologic studies suggest that dietary fruits and vegetables and the micronutrients they contain may reduce risk of lung cancer. In this study, researchers evaluated whether diet and multivitamin use influenced the prevalence of gene promoter methylation in cells exfoliated from the aerodigestive tract of current and former smokers. Participants -1,101 members of the Lovelace Smokers Cohort – completed the Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaire and provided a sputum sample that was assessed for promoter methylation of eight genes commonly silenced in lung cancer and associated with risk for this disease.
Researchers found that current or former smokers who ate more leafy greens had fewer cellular changes that are associated with lung cancer. It was suggested that strategies for lung cancer prevention should be developed based on the ability of diet and dietary supplements to affect reprogramming of these cellular changes.
Stidley et al. Multivitamins, Folate, and Green Vegetables Protect against Gene Promoter Methylation in the Aerodigestive Tract of Smokers. Cancer Res. 2010; 70(2); 568-74.