London, April 14 (IANS) A compound found in green tea and apples can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and cancer, says a new research. Polyphenols in green tea and apples block a key molecule which in the body can trigger atherosclerosis and is a target for some anti-cancer drugs, the findings showed.
Atherosclerosis can lead to heart attack, stroke, or even death.
“These data provide a plausible mechanism, which links bioactive compounds in food with their beneficial effects,” said research leader Paul Kroon at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Britain.
In the body, the molecule ascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a main driver of blood vessel formation in diseased cells 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.
Using cells derived from human blood vessels, the researchers found that the polyphenols — epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and procyanidin from apples — stopped a crucial signalling function of VEGF.
“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,” Kroon noted.
The study appeared in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.