~ Expert Explores Cancer-Diet Link

Manawatu Standard, 11-30-05

Successful cancer prevention through diet could owe as much to an individual's genetic makeup as to the qualities of the food eaten, says American cancer researcher Dr John Milner.

"Within the next five years we could have enough genetic information to say who is likely to respond best to which foods," he said.

Dr Milner, the chief of the nutritional science research group from the American National Cancer Institute at Maryland, presented a seminar on nutrition for cancer prevention to staff and students at Massey University on Monday.

He told them that not everyone will respond to "anti-cancer" dietary measures in the same way.

The 10 foods regarded as having the best "anti-cancer" properties "are tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, garlic, nuts, salmon, oats, blueberries, green tea and red wine".

However, it isn't sufficient to say "eat more fish" just because fish is rich in cancer-inhibiting omega 3 fatty acids.

Research indicated that there are people whose genetic make up responds better to foods other than fish.

"Besides, not all fish are created equal," he said.

"There can be wide variation in the fatty acid levels in fish of the same species. It is not really the fish that contain the fatty acids but the plankton which they eat.

"In future you may see packaging paying more attention to where the fish came from."

In the meantime, Dr Milner recommends adopting a more Mediterranean menu, eating less and avoiding monotony in diet.

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