Green Tea (again), Apples, and Oysters

Green tea, apples, and oysters. Green tea first. According to Roger Thornley et al., epigallocatechin, green tea’s anti-cancer component, works by blocking dihydrofolate reductase. That enzyme is necessary for tumor cells to grow – so green tea is good – but did you notice the “folate” in there? Unfortunately, the same green tea component reduces folic acid levels – and reduced levels in pregnant women can lead to birth defects. (Original publication in Cancer Research, reported in New Scientist, as are the next two items.)
Apples, meanwhile, seem to prevent oxidation of LDL. LDL (low-density lipoproteins, a.k.a. bad cholesterol). LDL is only bad when it oxidizes, so… Nice that the research (by Chu YiFan) was done in apple-growing upstate New York (at Rod’s alma mater, Cornell.)
As for oysters, are they an aphrodisiac, as folk tales claim? Well, they might be. They’re unusually high in N-methyl-D-aspartate, which is a testosterone precursor. In a nice move for a food, they compared N-etc. levels with those found in rat brains, reinforcing the preference for oysters, if given a choice. Work by Raul Mizra of Barry University (in Florida), reported at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting. (3/29)

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