The adage that we are what we eat is so very true. Recognizing and adopting healthy and balanced eating patterns and foods is one of the first steps to ensuring you maintain good health. The other is eating foods that you know can help prevent and fight your risks of getting certain diseases.
Cancer is caused by many factors. However, research has shown that making sure you include certain foods regularly in your diet can go a long way towards preventing from developing. The naturally occurring chemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers in many different foods can help your body fight the growth of cancer cells. Here are 25 of them:
You can eat tomatoes in salads, make soup, sauces and many other dishes. Stay well away from eating the stems and leaves, but the flesh is also a moderate source of Vitamin C. Some studies suggest lycopene, an oxidant in tomatoes, has anticancer properties.
Use garlic liberally in your cooking whether you crush it, grate it, or roast it. It is thought the sulfur compounds in garlic can help with reducing the risk of developing a few different types of cancer. Garlic is also a good source of Vitamins B6 and the mineral manganese.
Whether you cook a cob on the barbecue, steam it, boil it, or use it as an ingredient in recipes, corn contains beta-cryptoxanthin and ferulic acid, both of which may inhibit cancer growth. And yes, you can even pop it; just go lightly on the butter and salt!
Juice ruby red babies, roast them, boil them, stem them, and make borscht soup and salads. Both the bulbs and leaves of beets are edible and full of good stuff. In the bulb, it is the pigment that gives beetroot its color, betacyanin, which is thought to have anti-cancer properties.
The anti-cancer component of carrots is also thought to be in the pigment, the carotenoids, including beta-carotene that gives them their orange color. Carrots are another versatile vegetable that can be juiced, eaten raw and cooked.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which are thought to help with preventing cancer cell growth. The dried leaves from this plant, Camellia sinensis, are also thought to boost immune systems, eliminate toxins, and improve overall health. Green tea does contain caffeine, so be cautious of drinking too much.
This yellow-orange found in many curries contains curcumin, thought to have anticancer effects on precancerous cells in a few different types of cancer. It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help with other conditions.
Good news for summer strawberry lovers, strawberries contain the phytochemicals that are considered to have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a great sauce of Vitamin C and manganese.
Popeye was onto something, spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable full of all kinds of goodies. Its cancer-fighting properties are said to be lutein and zeaxanthin. You will get the best benefits from it raw in salads, but you can also cook it and add it to soups – and do not forget the garlic!
Go for whole grains in your bread and cereal choices every time. Wholegrains include lignans and saponins that act as antioxidants and may prevent cells from multiplying. Having a high fiber diet is also thought to be better for eliminating waste and preventing cancer risk.
Both black raspberries and red raspberries contain proanthocyanidin, thought to be an inhibitor of cancer and tumor growth. They are also a rich source of Vitamin C and Manganese. Enjoy fresh raspberries, add them to your cereals, combine them with lemons for homemade lemonade, or drink raspberry tea.
Flaxseed, aka linseed, contains high levels of lignin, an antioxidant, and phytonutrient, which is said to help prevent cancer. Just a tablespoon of these little seeds ground and added to any number of dishes has health benefits due to their levels of protein, B Vitamins, and minerals.
Legumes and Pulses
Dried kidney and black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas contain lignans and saponins that may protect against cancer. They are all also excellent sources of protein and fiber. Soak and rinse them before cooking, and enjoy the benefits.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega-3 fat and high amount of many antioxidant polyphenols and phytochemicals thought to help prevent cancer. They are also high in copper and manganese. Pecans, brazil nuts, and almonds are also thought to be good to include in an anti-cancer diet. Go nuts!
Yes, good news for coffee aficionados! Good quality coffee beans ground and prepared properly are a concentrated source of phytochemicals. Coffee also contains riboflavin, one of the B vitamins. All the more reason to relish that coffee break and love your daily latte!
For the best benefits of the anti-cancer phytochemicals in apples, eat their peel (but not their seeds). Apples also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are good sources of Vitamin C and fiber.
Pumpkin and Squash
The carotenoids in various types of pumpkin and squash include beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All good antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Pumpkins and squash are also high in Vitamins A and C.
The phytochemicals in blueberries are called anthocyanins. Add them to your smoothies, or breakfast dishes, these wee berries are among the highest with antioxidant properties. They are also good sources of Vitamins C and K and manganese.
Mushrooms of certain varieties are thought to have anti-cancer and antiviral properties. These include Asian reishi, maitaki, agaricus blazei muril and Turkey tail varieties. Even though you may not be able to pick these up in your local supermarket, common types of mushrooms are high in selenium and Vitamin D.
The humble onion is thought to have many anti-cancer compounds. These include organosulfur compounds, quercetin and anthocyanins thought to lower the risk of many types of cancer. Different varieties such as spring onions, shallots, brown/yellow and red onions have different strengths.
This curly leafy green veg, in the cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprout family but without a head, is a good source of organosulfur compounds thought to help reduce the risk of cancer. Kale is also high in Vitamins K, A, C, B5, folate and manganese.
Lemons and other citrus fruits contain the phytochemicals d-limonene and terpenes, thought to help halt the growth of cancer cells. Juice them and use the peel for added nutritional benefits. They are also rich in Vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes have a high carotenoid and phenolic content, thought to help contribute to the prevention of cancer. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are high in Vitamin A and dietary fiber.
There are also a few common herbs that contain compounds that are thought to help with inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Spice up your life with peppermint, basil, thyme, and rosemary in your cooking. Most are easy to grow fresh in small pots and add to your culinary creations!