Leafy greens have always been considered one of the best foods to eat for dental health. Scientific research has concluded that vegetables such as bok choy, Swiss chard and collard greens are not only excellent sources of calcium, but the vegetables have been proven to reduce the odds of oral cancer developing in the mouths of female smokers.
The Cancer Risk Vegetable Connection
The British Dental Health Foundation released the findings. Scientists analyzed data collected over the past 26 years surrounding 147 confirmed cases of oral cancer. Based on their introspective it was shown that for every one serving of green leafy vegetables consumed by the current women smokers, the risk of oral cancer decreased significantly. The findings did not stand true for women who never smoked or had already kicked the habit.
This is not the first study showing how leafy greens have the power to fight cancer. Leafy green vegetable consumption was proven to introduce protective factors against lung cancer in current and former smokers (National Cancer Institute [NCI]). Steven Belinsky, Ph.D. of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute headed up that research that analyzed mucus samples in relation to the diets of test subjects. Those who ate more leafy green vegetables had a reduced probability of high methylation. Methylation (the chemical involved in gene replication and modification) is believed to be a major factor in lung cancer development and progression. High levels of the chemical can also be used to catch lung cancer during its earliest stages.
Dental Health Benefits of Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are known to be chock full of minerals and vitamins and have long been promoted as being part of a nutritious diet. The nutritional powerhouses have the healthy kick needed to protect eyesight; minimizing problems associated with aging and are considered a rich source of calcium for vegetarians who need to minimize their chances of developing gum disease. When it comes to the oral cancer/leafy green connection experts believe the high levels of phytochemicals in the food group provides the disease-fighting boot.
Phytochemicals (AKA Phytonutrients) are naturally occurring, plant based chemicals that are easily be ingested to benefit the human body. The compounds are rich in anti-oxidants and have been clinically proven to cause cancer cells to die and repair DNA damage caused by smoking. The type of phytochemical in a food is categorized by the color and leafy greens are filled with lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, carotenoids, flavonoids and beta-carotene.