A research study by Norwich BioScience Institutes has revealed that people who consume the largest amounts of fruit and vegetables have a reduced risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
The researchers hypothesize that fruit and vegetables contain high amounts of compounds called polyphenols, which provide protective health benefits as they contain high levels of anti-oxidant activity.
The researchers determined that low concentrations of the polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and procyanidin from apples stopped a crucial signalling function of VEGF. VEGF is a main driver of blood vessel formation in these cell types via a process called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is crucial in cancer progression, as well as in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and plaque rupture which can cause heart attacks and stroke.
Inhibition of VEGF signalling by dietary polyphenols has previously been implicated in other studies, but this study provides the first evidence that polyphenols can directly interact with VEGF to block its signals, at the levels you would see in the blood stream after eating polyphenol rich foods.
“If this effect happens in the body as well, it provides very strong evidence for a mechanism that links dietary polyphenols and beneficial health effects,” said Dr Paul Kroon, Research Leader at IFR.
Christina W. A. Moyle, Ana B. Cerezo, Mark S. Winterbone, Wendy J. Hollands, Yuri Alexeev, Paul W. Needs, Paul A. Kroon. Potent inhibition of VEGFR-2 activation by tight binding of green tea epigallocatechin gallate and apple procyanidins to VEGF: Relevance to angiogenesis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2015; 59 (3): 401 DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201400478