Cancer. It’s a word that the world dreads. Even if you don’t personally know anybody who has suffered from this terrible disease, you have definitely heard of many sad cases throughout the world. The sad and scary part is that it has become so common in recent times. Almost anyone can be a victim to this disease, no matter how you’ve chosen to lead your life. In such a scenario, it can never hurt to be careful. Cancer fighting foods do exist, and though no single food or component can protect you against cancer itself, it has been found that a variety of foods can help us lower the risk of developing the disease. Prevention is better than the cure, you see? So bring prevention to your kitchen and update your grocery shopping list with these foods that fight cancer.
Broccoli & family
Some of the best anti-cancer foods are the cruciferous veggies. These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and the like. All of them consist of anti-cancer properties, but broccoli wins hands down. Though all these veggies protect you from radicals that might damage your DNA, broccoli is the only one that has a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals. It also targets cancer stem cells – those that aid in tumor growth. So, this is one ingredient that your salads and pizzas shouldn’t miss out on.
These are known to be rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks substances in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also contain more potassium than bananas. It is also believed that avocados are useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer). So, say yes to this amazing fruit! You could consider having the juice every morning for breakfast.
If you like red grapes or even red wine, then including them in your diet should be an easy task. They are a rich source of an antioxidant called resveratrol, which helps in keeping cancer from spreading and has been found to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. A bunch of it or a glass of wine, maybe twice a week, should be good enough.
There is a reason parents go crazy on their children when they skip out on the greens. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce are good sources of the antioxidants – beta-carotene and lutein. These help limit the growth of cancer cells as well as providing other health benefits.
Turmeric is well-loved by Indians, and for good reason. This amazing spice, a staple in Indian curries, consists of an ingredient called curcumin that might be useful in reducing the risk of cancer. Curcumin can inhibit a few kinds of cancer cells and slow down the spread of cancer. It is easily available and can be used in plenty of recipes and cuisines.
Whole grains contain components like fiber and antioxidants that might help lower your risk of cancer. Studies show that almost half a million people who consume more whole grains are more likely to lower their risk of colorectal cancer. There are so many items that you can include in your whole grains diet – oatmeal, barley, bread, and even whole wheat pasta for that matter.
Tea has antioxidants called catechins that help keep away substances that can damage your cells. These catechins can shrink tumors and reduce tumor cell growth. Both green and black teas consist of catechins, but you’ll get more antioxidants from green tea, so you might want to add at least a cup of this to your everyday diet.
When it comes to cancer fighting foods, beans are generally and unfairly left out of the picture. Black and navy beans, and even red kidney beans, have antioxidants and fibers that help reduce the risk of cancer. Eating beans at least once or twice every week will keep the cancer away.
Regular inclusion of garlic in your diet lowers your risk of certain cancers, especially the ones that strike your digestive organs like the esophagus, stomach, and colon. Not only does it make your food more delicious, these pungent bulbs will keep the cancer-causing substances away from your body, or help keep the cells from multiplying. Maybe a clove a day should be good enough.
Berries feature on the list of the top anti-cancer foods. They contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients, and you should especially seek out black raspberries in particular because they consist of a high concentration of anthocyanins, a substance that slows down the growth of premalignant cells. This way, no new blood cells are formed and nothing is feeding the tumor in question. Half a cup of berries a day will definitely keep the cancer away.
That’s right, this juicy fruit is one of the best sources of lycopene. It is what gives the tomatoes their red hue. This is something that has been found to be helpful in stopping endometrial cancer cell growth. Some researchers are even saying that consuming these red favorites can help protect men from prostate cancer. Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce – how does that sound for kicking cancer’s butt?
One of the best breast cancer fighting foods is the walnut. Walnuts are known to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, which slow down their growth. So, a handful of walnuts during the day should keep you healthy. You could also try out recipes that involve walnuts. How about eating some apple and walnut cake or brownies to fight against cancer?
These apparently have a derivative of benzaldehyde, a substance that is believed to be highly effective in shrinking tumors. They also contain vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which may help manage your appetite and improve weight loss efforts. It’s healthy and kills cancer, so definitely add it to your grocery list.
They are deliciously tangy and are the best source of Vitamin C. But these fruits, especially oranges and lemons, contain limonene that stimulates cancer-killing immune cells that break down cancer causing substances, nipping cancer in the bud. Some fresh juice every morning along with your breakfast should be easy to manage.
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” actually rings fairly true. Apples contain polyphenols that have promising anticancer properties. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that may prevent inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and infections. Some research suggests that polyphenols possess anticancer and tumor-fighting properties.
For example, the polyphenol phloretin inhibits a protein called glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) plays a role in advanced-stage cell growth in certain types of cancer. One study from 2018 in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis suggests that apple phloretin significantly inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, while not affecting normal cells.
Carrots contain several essential nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Carrots also contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which is responsible for the distinct orange color. Recent studies reveal that beta-carotene plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and may prevent certain types of cancer. A review of eight studies shows that beta-carotene has links to a reduction in the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Another analysis shows that higher consumption of carrots results in a 26 percent lower risk of developing stomach cancer.
Fatty fish, including salmon, mackerel, and anchovies, is rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamin B, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. One study found that people whose diets were high in freshwater fish had a 53 percent lower risk for colorectal cancer than those low in freshwater fish. Another study found that consumption of fish oil later in life has links to significantly lower risk for prostate cancer. Finally, a study following 68,109 people found that people who consumed fish oil supplements at least four times a week were 63 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than those who did not.
Supplements and medications
Although the foods listed above are everyday products and readily available, some people may not want to make significant dietary or lifestyle changes. In this case, there are plenty of supplements and medications available that contain anticancer compounds. Vitamins A, C, and E are notable for their anticancer properties and are available as supplements in most major grocery stores. Most of the plant-based compounds listed throughout this article, such as phloretin, anthocyanin, and sulforaphane, come in pill form. Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may also lower the risk of cancer in some people. Always speak to a medical professional before starting a new medication or supplement regimen.