Want to reduce your risk of cancer? Or are you already fighting cancer? Well, look no further than your fridge. There are a lot of studies on cancer and nutrition, and they all point to eating plant-based foods because they have phytonutrients and other special compounds. Aim for 5 to 9 daily servings of all kinds of vegetables and fruits – especially the following superfoods.
All cruciferous veggies (cabbage, kale, cauliflower) contain cancer-fighting properties, but only broccoli has a fairly large amount of sulforaphane, a particularly powerful compound that increases the body’s protective enzymes and clears out cancer-causing chemicals, says ScD, Jed W. Fahey. A recent University of Michigan study on rats found out that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells – and these cells aid in tumor growth.
Helps fight: Breast, lung, liver, skin, stomach, prostate, and bladder cancers.
How to fight: The more broccoli, the better. So add it wherever you can, from omelets to salads to the top of your pizza.
All berries are full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients. But only black raspberries contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins. They slow down the growth of premalignant cells, and they keep new blood vessels from forming (and possibly feeding a cancerous tumor), according to Ph.D. Gary D. Stoner.
Helps fight: Esophageal, colon, oral, and skin cancers.
How to fight: Gary D. Stoner uses a concentrated powder of berries in his studies, but he says a half-cup serving of berries per day will help your health, too.
This juicy fruit (yes, fruit) is the best dietary source of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue, says Beliveau. And that is great news because a study in Nutrition and Cancer found that lycopene stops endometrial cancer cell growth. Endometrial cancer causes nearly 8,000 deaths per year.
Helps fight: Endometrial, prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
How to fight: the biggest benefit comes from cooked tomatoes (pasta sauce, mmm!), since the heating process boosts the amount of lycopene your body can absorb.
Their phytosterols have been shown to stop estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, potentially slowing the cells’ growth, says Ph.D. Elaine Hardman, associate professor at the Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington.
Helps fight: Breast and prostate cancers.
How to fight: munching on 30 grams of walnuts a day will yield the best benefits, Hardman’s research found.
Phytochemicals in garlic block the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogens formed in the stomach (in certain conditions, in the intestines, too) when you consume nitrates, a common food preservative, says Beliveau. In fact, the Iowa Women’s Health Study discovered that women with the most garlic in their diets had a 50% lower risk of certain colon cancers that those who ate the least.
Helps fight: Colon, breast, esophageal, and stomach cancers.
How to fight: Chop a clove of fresh and crushed garlic (crushing helps release beneficial enzymes), and then sprinkle it into that lycopene-rich tomato sauce.
A Michigan State University study found that black and navy beans significantly reduce colon cancer incidence in mice, in part because a diet rich in the legumes boosted levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which in high concentrations protects against cancer growth. Another study found that beans are especially effective in preventing breast cancer in mice.
Helps fight: Breast and colon cancers.
How to fight: Add a serving – about a half-cup – of legumes a couple of time per week (either from a can or dry beans that have been soaked and cooked) to your regular rotation of greens or other veggies.
Not only will consuming these foods lower your risk of cancer, but you are going to feel (and look) better. So if you want to reduce your risk of cancer, and fight off a current one, stick to eating organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and organic dairy products.Tags: Beans, Berries, Broccoli, fight cancer, Garlic, Tomatoes, Walnuts, weight loss foods