Whatâ€™s your idea of a perfect meal? Whether youâ€™re into the In-N-Out burger, fries, and milkshake trifecta, or youâ€™re more of a â€œcleanseâ€ type, the epigenetics enthusiast in you will be interested in a recent review by Trygve Tollefsbol and colleagues that reveals that certain foods contain ingredients that may prevent and treat cancer.
Although each of these â€œbioactive dietary componentsâ€ targets multiple players in tumorigenesis, at least some of their anti-cancer abilities probably stem from epigenetic effects. The authors describe how some of these superfoods in Mother Natureâ€™s anti-cancer arsenal shake up epigenetics machinery:
Tea polyphenols: The catechin EGCG, abundant in green tea beverages, inhibits the DNA methyltransferase DNMT1 and histone acetyltransferases (HATs)
Cruciferous vegetables: Sulforaphane from veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale inhibits DNMTs and histone deacetylases (HDACs).
Fava beans, soybeans, kudzu: The isoflavone genistein inhibits DNMTs and HDACs and activates HATs.
Turmeric: Curcurmin, a yellow pigment in the spice turmeric, inhibits DNMTs, HDACs, and HATs.
Grapes, berries, peanuts: Resveratrol, a polyphenol made famous for its apparent anti-aging effects in animal models, inhibits DNMTs and activates the HDAC SIRT1.
Many of these dietary components have been linked directly to tumor suppressor gene activation and/or oncogene silencing. So serve yourself up a big helping of turmeric-seasoned broccoli and soybeans, have some grapes for dessert, and wash it all down with a steaming mug of green tea.