The role of pectin a complex carbohydrate found in all fruits and vegetables in fighting off deadly diseases such as cancer has been further elucidated by new research.
Scientists at the Institute of Food Research in the UK analyzed the composition of pectin and discovered that sugars within the carbohydrate bind to a protein that is found on the surface of tumor cells.
By attaching in this way, pectin may inhibit the protein and slow down the progression of cancer, the researchers propose.
Professor Vic Morris of the institute suggested that the findings could lead to new functional foods. They could also potentially lead to the development of nutritional supplements to target this cancer-fighting effect.
Meanwhile, lead researcher Patrick Gunning told Reuters Health that in the meantime, people should just continue to eat a balanced diet.
“We feel that the best advice is to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables in the likelihood that it will supply bioactive fragments from the pectins,” he told the news provider.
Many health experts suggest eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.