Some of the best cancer-fighting foods can be found in the first section of most grocery stores: the produce section. These anti-cancer foods, like antioxidants that help to prevent the occurrence of certain cancers or to reduce the symptoms, if they occur. It is no surprise that cancer fighting diet and foods aren’t found in a box as much of our food is nowadays.
Foods and dietary habits that raise the risk of cancer
Before we look at foods that reduce the risk of cancer, let’s understand the intertwining of foods and cancer risk. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has long maintained a list of foods that can cause cancer. These are caused carcinogens, divided into five groups depending on their chances of causing cancer: known, probable, possible, unclassifiable and probably not carcinogenic.
Certain types of foods and dietary habits can increase the risk of cancer, particularly if they are consumed in excessive quantities. Some such are alcohol, red meats, sugars and fried foods.
On the other hand, phytochemical-laden plant foods, like the ones we are going to talk about, can reduce the risk of cancer. It’s important to take care of your health, regardless of your circumstance. But for all extents and purposes, here is a list of the top 14 foods that prevent cancer:
There are sulphur compounds found in garlic that can help to stimulate the natural defences against cancer within the immune system. Studies suggest that garlic has the potential to reduce tumour growth and reduce the occurrence of stomach cancer. It has the potential to rid the cancer-causing chemicals and to help lead cancer cells to die naturally in a process called apoptosis.
When it comes to foods that fight cancer, artichokes contain an antioxidant called silymarin that helps prevent skin cancer by decreasing cancer cell growth. After peeling off the outer layers, it is suggested that you boil or steam it until its tender, which is usually 30-4 minutes.
Omega-3s are should be at the heart of everyone’s diet. Australian researchers have found that people who eat at least four servings of fish per week with almost 1/3 less likely to acquire blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia. There have also been other studies that show a link between eating fatty fish, such as mackerel, halibut, tuna, and salmon, and reducing the risk of endometrial cancer in women.
A 50% reduced risk of prostate cancer may be linked to a diet that is high in onions. The effects are strongest when onions are eaten raw or are lightly cooked. In the case you need a milder option, try scallions, shallots, chives, or Vidalia onions.
According to German researchers, when the natural fibre in an apple ferments in the colon, it generates chemicals that help to fight the formation of cancer cells. Other studies have concluded that an antioxidant found in apples, called procyanidins, caused a series of cell signals that led to cancer cell death.
Sulforaphane is one of the most potent anticancer compounds from a natural resource and it can be found in bean sprouts. There is 50 times more sulforaphane in bean sprouts than mature beans.
Kale, as well as other cooking greens, is abundant in carotenoids, bioflavonoids, and other cancer-fighting compounds. It also contains a compound, called indole that can decrease the cancer-causing potential of estrogen. It also increases the production of enzymes against numerous diseases.
Cabbage contains bioflavonoids that help to prevent tumour growth and protect cells from free radicals. Studies have found that people who eat large amounts of cabbage have low rates of colon cancer, in addition to other cancers. There are other chemicals in cabbage that help to speed up the metabolism of estrogen, which is a hormone that, in high amounts, is linked with breast cancer. The chemicals found in cabbage help to defend against cancers that occur in the uterus and ovaries.
Carotenoids, including bioflavonoids and alpha-carotene, have been identified as reducing the risk of cancer. This cancer-fighting food helps to reduce lung cancer in particular.
An evaluation of five studies showed that carrots can cut the risk of stomach cancer more than 25%. Another clinical study showed that increased carrot intake correlated with 18% reduction in the chances of developing prostate cancer. (Effect of Carrot Intake in the Prevention of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis; Journal of Gastric Cancer, 2015)
Broccoli is known as a cancer-preventing superfood and it is suggested that you should eat it frequently. But not every cooking method can be used to receive full benefits. A Spanish study found that if you microwave broccoli, 97% of the vegetable’s cancer-protective flavonoids. The best way to cook broccoli is steamed, boiled, fried, and then microwaved. Steamed is the best method since nutrients leach into the cooking water otherwise instead of staying in the vegetable.
Broccoli contains a plant compound called sulforaphane that is known to have strong anti-cancer properties. A study showed that sulforaphane reduced by 75% the size and number of breast cancer cells. It was further observed as inhibiting breast cancer stem cells. (Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells; Clinical Cancer Research: Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 2010)
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that people who drink at least four cups of a coffee per day, either regular or decaf, have a 15% lower risk of colon cancer. This is in comparison to those who don’t drink coffee. Other studies have shown that drinking coffee can help lower the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
Studies have found cancer-fighting properties in ginger, specifically linked to causing ovarian cancer cells to die and reduced inflammation in the colon. Animals pre-treated with beta-ionone, a compound found in ginger, showed that induced tumours grew at a slower rate than those that weren’t treated.
An antioxidant called lycopene can be found in pink and red grapefruits and may lower the risk of prostate cancer. A Harvard study has actually linked 10 servings of foods rich with lycopene with a 50% reduction in prostate cancer. It has also been established that other protective plant chemicals are found in grapefruits including the following: phenolic acid, which restricts the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines; bioflavonoids, which restrict the action of hormones that generate tumour growth; and limonoids, terpenes, and monoterpenes, which activate the production of enzymes that help to prevent cancer.
Grapes consist of ellagic acid, which has been thought to protect lungs from environmental toxins. The skin of the red grapes contains a potent phytochemical called resveratrol that has been connected to a reduction in cancer as well as stroke and heart disease.
The main causes of cancer have complexities and have a number of factors to consider. Possible causes include, but not limited to, exposure to environmental toxins, viruses, high-stress levels, nutrient absorption, lack of activity and poor diet.
Eating cancer-fighting foods is just one simple way to gain control over your life and help prevent cancer during the process.