A cancer diagnosis is scary and life-changing, and there is a growing interest in how to prevent breast cancer in the first place. Cancer likely has many root causes, and today’s article won’t go into all the strategies but will focus on an essential one: polyphenols.
Polyphenols, like those found in cinnamon, offer valuable health benefits. Cinnamon is one of our favorite foods that prevent breast cancer.
Keep reading to learn more about:
- Cinnamon benefits and polyphenols
- What are polyphenols?
- Cinnamon benefits for women and breast cancer
- What is apoptosis?
- Cinnamon and chemotherapy
Is Cinnamon High in Polyphenols?
Cinnamon is a spice high in phytonutrients, including polyphenols. To learn more about the health benefits of cinnamon, read this article.
What Are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a large category of phytonutrients (bioactive plant nutrients) abundant in fruits, vegetables, tea, herbs, spices, and other plant foods. Polyphenols are antioxidants with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are many types of polyphenols. Polyphenols and polyphenol foods include:
- Curcumin (from turmeric)
- Resveratrol (from red grapes and peanuts)
- Catechins (from green tea)
- Quercetin (from apples and onions)
- Lignans (from flax seeds and sesame seeds)
- Ellagic acid (from berries)
- Avenanthramides (from oats)
- And many more!
You’ll commonly find polyphenol extracts in breast health supplements.
What Types of Polyphenols Are in Cinnamon?
Cinnamon contains several identified bioactive compounds, including:
- Cinnamic acid
- Catechins and epicatechins (these are polyphenols)
Can Cinnamon Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
Cinnamon may be a helpful spice when considering how to prevent breast cancer naturally. Let’s look at its functions in the body.
One way cinnamon helps prevent cancer is through apoptosis.
What is Apoptosis?
Apoptosis is programmed cell death. Apoptosis is how the body removes old cells or cells that aren’t functioning correctly, including cancerous cells. Studies show cinnamon extract is a pro-apoptotic agent, supporting this natural process.
Inhibits Tumor Growth
In addition to supporting apoptosis, cinnamon inhibits tumor growth.
In Vitro and Animal Studies
Both invitro (test tube) and studies in mice and rats demonstrate cinnamon extract is toxic to cancer cells and inhibits the growth of tumor cells in various human cancers.
Cinnamon and Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for breast cancer. While chemotherapy helps kill cancer, it also negatively effects the rest of the body and can induce inflammation, fatigue, pain, loss of appetite, and other side effects. Studies suggest plant polyphenols like those in cinnamon may reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is toxic to the body. Cinnamon extract can help protect against the toxicity because of its high antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory effects.
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and others, are common side effects of chemotherapy. Cinnamaldehyde, a bioactive compound in cinnamon is antibacterial and helps protect the gut against pathogens. Pathogens are particularly dangerous during chemotherapy when the immune system is compromised.
Research suggests that cinnamon may not directly improve the appetite, but the aroma and taste of cinnamon can help support digestion. In addition, cinnamon has helpful blood sugar-balancing effects.
As you consider your breast cancer prevention diet, don’t neglect polyphenol-rich foods, including cinnamon. Add cinnamon to your morning oats, coffee, or try our new Cinnamon Bun protein balls as a regular snack.