New Insights into the Health Benefits of Phytochemicals for Chronic Disease Prevention

Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., Cornell University

Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is strongly associated with reduced risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Work performed by our group and others have shown that fruit and vegetable phytochemical extracts exhibit strong antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, and that the major part of total antioxidant activity is from the combination of phytochemicals.  We proposed that the additive and synergistic effects of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables are responsible for these potent antioxidant and anticancer activities, and that the benefit of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is attributed to the complex mixture of phytochemicals present in whole foods.  This presentation will cover our current research on the health benefits of phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer, and focus on the mechanisms of action.  

Key words:  Fruits, vegetables, phytochemicals, antioxidants, cancer