Vital Research into Foods That Help Prevent Cancer; Hundreds of the Region's Most Innovative Digital Businesses Have Come to Tyneside for the Massive Thinking Digital Conference Which Attracts Some of the Brightest Minds in the World. JOHN HILL Was There

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Byline: JOHN HILL

WE SEE it so often in the papers now that it almost becomes noise. But the idea that diet can improve cancer prevention isn't just health page blather.

Vincent Li is CEO of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non-profit organisation which investigates how the creation of blood vessels affects the spread of cancer. He believes people can really take steps to prevent cancer by picking their foods wisely, and is trying to spread the information through www.eattodefeat.org He said: "It's a paradigm shift. As a society we're so focused on interventions and that's normally when something happens and it's too late. What we're doing is thiS nking about disease from a prevention point of view, so you don't have to resort to expensive medications.

"We're looking at things we have access to in every culture. It's about creating a framework around why something works and how it works and putting together data. Instead of using the information to synthesise a new drug, we're looking at things everyone can do."

Blood vessels have a significant impact on the condition of the body. For example, too few can lead to strokes while too many risks obesity, cancer and arthritis. In the case of cancer, the foundation has had encouraging results in tests that starve cancers of blood vessels, and Li notes several foods have anti-angiogenic properties, from red grapes to tomatoes. The method of preparation is important. The water in tea absorbs more catechin if it is dunked and steeped longer, and the anti-angiogenic properties of tomatoes are improved if they are cooked in olive oil.

Li said: "It's not about removing things. We're always being told to stop drinking or smoking. This is about what we can do to increase our quality of life. …