Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world after cardiovascular diseases. Whether one has a history of cancer in the family or are currently battling the disease, lifestyle factors, including one’s diet, can make a huge difference in helping one fight off cancer. Some foods enhance the risk of cancer while others support the body and strengthen the immune system. By making smart food choices, one can protect one’s health, feel better, and boost one’s ability fight off cancer and several other diseases.
The Link between Cancer and Diet
Not all health problems are avoidable, but one has more control over one’s health than one may think.
•It has been commonly found that a large percentage of cancer-related deaths are intimately linked to lifestyle choices like drinking, smoking, an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise.
•Limiting alcohol, avoiding cigarettes, getting regular exercise and reaching a healthy weight are an excellent start to preventing cancer.
•What you eat and don’t eat has a powerful effect on your health, including the risk of cancer. Without knowing it, you may be eating several foods that fuel cancer, while neglecting the powerful nutrients and foods that can protect you.
•Vegetables and fruits have more fiber, less fat, and more cancer-fighting nutrients. These three elements act together to support the immune system and help the body fight off cancer.
Super Foods that may Prevent Cancer
There are several healthy foods for cancer prevention. Here we have listed below a few common foods.
The healthy foods for cancer prevention should include garlic. The same sulfur compounds causing that odor can also stop cancer-causing materials from forming in the body, kill cancer cells and speed DNA repair.
Garlic battles bacteria, including H. pylori and it reduces the risk of colon cancer. Garlic is the powerhouse of the allium family, but leeks, onions, scallions, and chives might also protect against stomach cancer.
Broccoli is an easy and affordable answer for how to prevent cancer. All cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, cauliflower, and kale) contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one with a huge amount of sulforaphane,a particularly potent compound that boosts the human body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals.
It has been found that sulforaphane targets cancer stem cells- those that aid in tumor growth.
The best foods for prevention of cancer must include berries. All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. But black raspberries, in particular, retain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, that slowdown the rapid growth of premalignant cells and keep new blood vessels from forming.
The best anticancer foods should include tomatoes. The red colouring in the tomatoes makes it a juicy, ripe vegetable difficult to resist and makes it a potential weapon against cancer. That red colour comes from a phytochemical called lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is most concentrated in tomatoes. A lycopene-rich diet is connected to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Lycopene stops several other types of cancer cells from growing, including lung, breast, and endometrial (in the lining of the uterus) cancer. It has been found that lycopene protects the cells from damage that can lead to cancer by boosting the immune system. Lycopene stops the growth of the tumors by interfering with abnormal cell growth.
To get the most benefit from lycopene, eat processed or cooked tomatoes, including pizza sauce and tomato juice.
A perfect diet for cancer patients should include walnuts. The presence of phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules mainly found in the plants) in walnuts has been shown to block estrogen receptors in the breast cancer cells.
Walnuts are a rich form of selenium, a trace mineral that convinces cancer cells to commit suicide and immensely helps the cells repair their DNA.
The best foods to prevent cancer should include beans. Black and navy beans significantly decrease colon cancer incidence in humans, in part because a diet rich in the legumes enhance the levels of the fatty acid butyrate,
which in high concentrations has protective effects against cancer growth. It has been found that dried beans are particularly effective in prevention of breast cancer in women.
Green Tea retains antioxidants called catechins that may help prevent cancer in a variety of ways including keeping free radicals from damaging cells. It has been found that catechins in green tea can shrink tumors and decrease tumor cell growth.
Both black and green teas retain catechins, but you will get more antioxidants from green tea, so you may want to consider one cup or more in your anti-cancer diet.
Sweet potato is one of the best foods to prevent cancer. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It has been commonly found that men and women who eat a diet high in beta-carotene — found mainly in leafy greens and orange vegetables have a decreased risk of cancer, specifically of the colon, lung, and stomach.
Among premenopausal women, it has been found that eating a lot of vegetables that include folate, beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin C – like sweet potatoes —decreased the risk of breast cancer by about half.
Turmeric is the yellow-colored spice mainly found in curry powder. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, functions as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and it can help prevent cancer by interfering with aspects of cellular signaling. Curcumin has been shown to help prevent cancer of the colon, breast, liver, stomach, and lung.
Healthy foods for cancer prevention should include pomegranates. Pomegranates are chock full of ellagic acid — the latest phytonutrient to enter the scene. Ellagic acid has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and deactivate cancer-causing compounds.
Other foods high in ellagic acid include blackberries, raspberries, walnuts, strawberries, cranberries, pecans, and grapes (black, red, purple).
The best anticancer foods should include ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cancer by effectively inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and disrupting steps that are critical to tumor growth. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, that means they can theoretically decrease the possibility of cellular mutations.
Include these healthy foods in your daily diet to prevent cancer and don’t forget to share your health tips with us.