Cancer is one of the major causes of death worldwide, including developing and underdeveloped nations. Mortality and morbidity data suggest that incidences are higher than those of the cardiovascular diseases. High cost and occurrence of numerous side and adverse effects associated with conventional anticancer regimes has necessitated shifting the focus towards the practice of traditional alternative and complementary medicine. Emerging evidence on the beneficial link of dietary components with lower cancer occurrence has been instrumental in determining the course of cancer-related studies. Consumption of fruits rich in polyphenols has proven to inhibit the process of carcinogenesis and tumor growth, with positive outcomes in terms of survival and quality of life of the patient and thus should be encouraged to combat cancer. The objective of the present review is to highlight the underlying mechanisms of apoptosis induced by the different polyphenolic constituents in four Indian fruits, namely litchi, Indian gooseberry, Indian blackberry and Ziziphus jujube. However, it must be kept in mind that benefits of consuming fruits rich in polyphenols should not be over-judged through food fortification or supplementation with these active principles. Conclusive evidence of the beneficial effects is yet to come through future studies in humans since most of the data have been obtained from in vitro studies.
Key words: Polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins, antioxidant, apoptosis, chemopreventive, chemotherapeutic.
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