Lemons have a strong reputation as a healing food because they are naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. They are so great for killing germs, in fact, that many natural cleaning products contain lemon oil to boost their cleansing power. And now, there’s strong evidence that they have the ability to inhibit cancer cells.
Lemons have long been prescribed as a natural remedy that can help cleanse your body, too. The juice is thought to bind to chemicals, and in this way, helps your liver with its detoxing process. But now, researchers are discovering that lemons may have a role to play in cancer prevention.
A research team from Texas A&M University just completed a study that investigated the anti-cancer properties of limonoids for the first time. Limonoids are special compounds found in lemons that are thought to be responsible for their healing benefits. The researchers found more than a dozen limonoids that they screened for their cytotoxicity on human breast cancer cells.
Among the tested limonoids, 11 exhibited cytotoxicity on estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells, whereas eight limonoids showed cytotoxicity against estrogen-receptor-negative cell lines.
There’s a test that can determine which type of cancer patients have. The test indicates whether cancer cells have receptors for the hormones estrogen or progesterone. The role of hormone receptors is to intercept hormone signals that tell cells to grow. If a cancer cell has receptors for estrogen, then these cells may receive signals from estrogen that could help them to grow. Conversely, if a cell has progesterone receptors, it could potentially grow by receiving signals from progesterone.
The limonoids found in lemons were able to stop cancer growth in both estrogen-receptor-positive cells and estrogen-receptor-negative cells.
There are a number of ways to add lemon to your weekly diet. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is perhaps the easiest way to get some cancer-killing limonoids. You can also add lemon to main courses and, of course, desserts. But, eating lemon pie every day is probably not the healthiest recommendation.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Fight Cancer with This Sour Fruit
Kim, J., et al., “Limonoids and their anti-proliferative and anti-aromatase properties in human breast cancer cells,” Food Funct. November 1, 2012.