Good news for those looking for tasty ways to potentially improve their odds of staying healthy: baked rhubarb may help fight cancer.
Researchers found that baking garden rhubarb for 20 minutes dramatically boosted levels of anti-cancer chemicals called polyphenols. Previous research has shown that polyphenols selectively kill or prevent the growth of cancer cells.
"Our research has shown that British rhubarb is a potential source of pharmacological agents that may be used to develop new anti-cancerous drugs," researcher Dr Nikki Jordan-Mahy, of the Biomedical Research Center at Sheffield Hallam University, said in a university news release. The findings were released online in the journal Food Chemistry.
This is the first study to examine the benefits of rhubarb, specifically a variety grown in South Yorkshire, UK. Earlier research has studied Oriental medicinal rhubarb, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
"Current treatments are not effective in all cancers and resistance is a common problem," Jordan-Mahy said. "It's very important to discover novel, less toxic treatments, which can overcome resistance."
Researchers now plan to study the effect of rhubarb's polyphenols on leukaemia. - (HealthDay News, February 2010)