January 24/London/Press Trust of India -- Want to stave off bowel cancer? Make sure the daily diet is packed with fruit and vegetables, recommends a new study. This is because researchers in South Korea say that a potent super-nutrient found in a range of everyday healthy foods can block the way cancer cells communicate and instruct cells to grow and spread.

They have found that the flavonoid called luteolin, found in foods such as celery, green pepper, thyme, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, navel oranges and oregano, can halt cancer spread, the Daily Express said.

The findings show that luteolin inhibits the activity of cell signal pathways which lead to the growth of colon cancer cells. And, according to the researchers, this could pave the way for development of new treatments to tackle bowel cancer.

Luteolin has been shown in laboratory tests to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. Previous studies looking at the causes of cancer had failed to pick up the positive effect luteolin can give.

However, now researchers have discovered that the flavonoid is able to stop the colon cancer cells secreting a so-called pathway receptor.

Professor Jung Han Yoon Park, who led the study, said, "Blocking these pathways stops cancer cells from dividing and leads to cell death. Our study, showing that luteolin interferes with cell signalling in colon cancer cells, is a step forward in understanding how this flavonoid works."

Experts have welcomed the findings published in the BMC Gastroenterology journal.

Dr. Joanna Owens, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said, "This study is a really early exploratory step towards finding chemicals that could be used to develop cancer-preventing drugs. Fruits and vegetables contain many compounds that could help protect against cancer."

 From the January 24, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.