Cancer fighting foods

The war between cancer and the human body is none too fun, nor is it desired by any means. Studies show that diet (yes, the things you eat) can actually increase your risk of cancer. The results are in, and up until now, about 1/3 of cancers are caused do to a poor diet. So as we’re told to eat this and eat that because a particular food contains healthful qualities, so are there foods to avoid because they contain “cancer-inducing” qualities. If you think about it, this risk factor for cancer is the most controllable, and least expensive, way to prevent cancer. Prevention is a much safer tactic than treatment when it comes to cancer. While you’re not required to go vegan (although that would be a promising option), start focusing on a plant-based diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, instead of the junk-food, high-fat, low-nutrient diet. Not only will your waist line be thanking you, but you will be one step ahead in the battle of cancer.

Cancer-Friendly Foods
Many of these cancer fighting foods contain antioxidants that help slow and prevent damaging free radicals from harming the body cells; some also have phytochemicals that have cancer fighting properties. Here is a compiled list of a variety of foods that will do the trick. However, don’t just choose one and expect it to make a difference; a wide selection of foods is always the best choice for any health reason!

  • Beans contain phytochemicals that are believed to slow the damage, whether genetic or acquired, done to cells. Specifically, they help prevent prostate cancer and their high fiber content reduces the risk of getting any digestive cancers.
  • Berries contain compounds called anthocyanins that are potent antioxidants.
  • Broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and cauliflower have a couple cancer fighting properties. First, they contain sulforaphane, which is a chemical that could possibly reduce the risk of stomach, breast, skin, and rectal cancer. Secondly, these vegetables have indole-3-carbinol, another chemical, that helps turn breast-cancer-promoting estrogen into a less harmful estrogen.
  • Carrots have abundant amounts of beta-carotene, which may reduce the risk of a myriad of cancers, including stomach, intestine, bladder, mouth, lung, and throat. Unfortunately, cooking carrots reduces the potency of the cancer fighting nutrients, so try to eat them raw.
  • Flax contains lignans, which are chemical compounds of phytoestrogens; additionally, the lignans act as antioxidants. The omega-3 fatty acids that are abundant in flax make it ideal to prevent colon cancer and heart disease.
  • Garlic is an immune-enhancing agent that acts by increasing the activity of the cells that fight off cancer and indirectly works to break down cancer-causing substances. Diallyl sulfides are the components of garlic that perform these functions. They are said to block the progression of carcinogens as well, which is any cancer-causing agent.
  • Red Grapes contain potent antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Resveratrol, which inhibits the enzymes that promote cancer-cell growth, is also abundant in grapes. Similarly, red wine is a source of these same cancer fighting capabilities.
  • Tea, particularly green tea, contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that prevent cancer-cells from dividing.
  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, another antioxidant.
  • Whole Grains have combinations of many of the above listed cancer fighting components, such as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and fiber.

Don’t Forget the Vitamins and Minerals!
Vitamins and minerals also have their unique properties that can stave off cancer cells.

  • Folate helps to prevent DNA mutations. It can be found in fortified foods, as well as natural sources, such as dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and nuts.
  • Vitamin A has the same properties seen with the beta-carotene because it is actually what the body converts beta-carotene into. Find it in a variety of orange and yellow vegetables.
  • Vitamin C is another antioxidant vitamin that is found in citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers.
  • Vitamin E, another antioxidant, can be found in nuts, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
  • Vitamin D is said to control the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin D is often added to milk and can be made by the body from sunlight.
Last updated on Mar 12th, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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