We can fight cancer not just with the help of a doctor, but with the right diet, too.
Given, we don’t quite know what an anti-cancer diet looks like. But that doesn’t discount the volumes of work researchers have done on the effect of fruits, vegetables and meats on cancer causing agents in our body, and how these natural produce can help prevent or fight cancer cells. According to a research by the American Association for Cancer Research, at least half of the world’s cancer deaths can be prevented if smoking were reduced, body weight was monitored, regular exercised was practiced and a heathy diet consumed. Sunscreen helps, too.
After some research, I’ve put together this short list of foods that can help fight cancer. No, they are not a cure for cancer, but having these as a regular part of your diet can help reduce your risks of cancer, and award you a healthy diet (and lifestyle).
Berries have a concentrated, rich colour and flavour. The compound anthocyanin is what gives berries this vivid quality, and acts as an antioxidant in the body, preventing cell damage. Ellagic Acid and Vitamin C are also abundant in berries – both these compounds, working with anthocyanin, stifle the growth of a list of tumors, including those of the breast, cervix, lungs, skin and digestive tracts. Studies that compared the diets of people with berries as a regular aspect of food intake over a period of six weeks saw the increase of killer cells. Killer cells can help fight cancer cells.
This group of vegetables may sound intimidating, but you’re already consuming it. Some contenders belonging to this group are Arugala, Bok Choy, Horseradish, Mustard Greens, Kale and even cabbage. Top among these as the cancer fighting green is Broccoli. Crucifers generally refer to members of the cabbage family, and have a complex chemical composition. This complexity has left researchers perplexed as to what exactly gives these vegetables the ability to prevent or fight cancer cells – what has been confirmed is that they are very effective in their jobs. They are rich in potassium, folate, Vitamin C and a variety of phytochemicals. They also contain sulforaphane, a chemical (particularly available in Broccoli) that helps makes cells stronger when faced with carcinogens. A study published in 2013 found that people who ate plenty of crucifers lowered their colon cancer risk by 18%. Some other studies have shown that a cruciferous vegetable – rich diet can reduce lung and prostate cancer, too.
The popular diet food: BEANS! Beans and legumes aren’t just packed with loads of nutrients that are great for your body, they also contain a chemical compound that is able to keep you full for a longer period of time, thus you consume lesser calories. This can lower your risk of cancer by reducing chances of obesity. The fibre content in legumes compliments the healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, keeping the cells there healthy. Beans also contain folate, which an help reduce risks of breast, colorectal and other cancers. Regularly eating legumes can help fight cancers particular to the digestive system. It has been found that people who eat legumes 3 times a week can reduce their risk of colon cancer by 33 percent.
Go Pink and Red
Tomatoes, grapefruits, papayas and watermelons have all a pink or red vein in common, when it comes to their colour. This is thanks to the naturally occurring chemical lycopene, which can protect against prostate and colorectal cancer. Research has found that men who ate 10 servings of tomatoes week had an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. And if you’re one to eat tomatoes raw (like me!), try eating them cooked – consuming cooked tomatoes results in higher blood levels of lycopene.
You can smell these before you taste them, especially when they are raw. These include onions, garlics, chives, leeks, etc. Garlic has been especially effective in the fight against cancer, along with the onion. These two root vegetables have been fighting of cancers of the digestive tract, with minimal effort and without you knowing. Even more research shows that a garlic-heavy diet prevents the development of pancreatic and breast cancers. While it has not been made clear the quantity needed for these vegetables to work as cancer fighters, you should incorporate them into your diet as and when you can. Especially in the case of an Asian diet, onions and garlic are a staple.
Nuts are the most well-rounded cancer fighters; research has found that those who ate 1 ounce of nuts five times a week (or more) are less likely to develop any kind of cancer. Walnuts, in particular, have been known to prevent the growth of tumour cells, besides being excellent brain food. While the specifics of how nuts can prevent cancer are still being debated by researches, evidence points to omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, along with other compounds found in nuts, that can prevent cancer cells from forming.
In many cases, while a healthy and balanced diet is essential in the fight against cancer, other factors, such as early detection, also come into play. Know the signs and follow health advisories. The foods I’ve listed above aren’t only great at preventing cancer, but can help anyone keep a healthy diet, too! Remember to incorporate them into you everyday diet, and do your part in keeping your body healthy and yourself happy.