Before we dive into some of the strongest and best anti-cancer foods, let’s take a look at some of the food no-no’s to leave off your plate and the various factors that can put you at a higher risk of cancer.
Cancer is a complex disease. There are many different types of cancers, as well as many potential causes. Although we still don’t know all the answers, what is known is that a variety of factors can contribute to the development of cancer. Genetic makeup and family history definitely play a role. But external factors that most people have some control over, like your lifestyle habits, have an even bigger impact. In fact, research shows that 80 – 90% of malignant tumors are related to external factors.
One of the most important lifestyle factors to consider is your diet. That’s because a major body of research has shown that some foods are associated with a higher risk of certain types of cancer, along with diabetes and several other serious diseases. In essence, cancer prevention is much like any other health plan- Be more physically active, drink lots of water, eat more fresh and wholesome foods, completely ditch alcohol, minimize heavily processed foods, fried foods, and foods high in carbs and sugar. At mealtimes, strike a balance of at least two-thirds plant-based foods and no more than one-third animal protein. This “New American Plate” is an important cancer fighting tool, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
With that in mind, read on to learn about some of the most powerful, easy to find anti-cancer foods that you can add to your diet.
Fruits and vegetables are super rich in cancer-fighting nutrients — and the more color, the more nutrients they contain. These foods can help lower your risk of cancer in a second way as well, by helping you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Why is that? This is because carrying those extra pounds increases the risk for many types of cancers, including colon, esophagus, and kidney cancers. So go ahead, fill up at every meal with a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables.
Naturally – occurring folate (folic acid) is an important B vitamin that may help protect against certain cancers, specifically of the colon, rectum, and breast.
You can find it in abundance on any typical and delicious breakfast table. Fortified breakfast cereals and whole wheat products are good sources of folate, including orange juice, melons, and strawberries. This essential folic acid can also be found in eggs, beans and sunflower seeds.
Even though the evidence is still inconclusive, studies are showing an increasing favor of green tea, and that it may be a strong cancer fighter. In laboratory studies, green tea has slowed or prevented the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. It also had a similar effect in lung tissue and skin. In addition, in some longer term studies, green tea was associated with lower risks for bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. But more research in humans is needed before green tea can be recommended as a surefire and solid cancer fighter.
Eating fresh garlic might leave your mouth a bit smelly, but believe it or not, those sulfur compounds causing that odor may also stop cancer-causing substances from forming in your body, speed DNA repair, and kill cancer cells.
Want more? Garlic fights off bacteria, including H. pylori (the one connected to some ulcers and stomach cancer. Research suggests it reduces the risk of developing stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreatic and breast cancers. To get the most benefit, peel and chop the cloves and let them sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. That activates enzymes and releases the sulfur-containing compounds that have the most protective effect, according to the American Cancer Society.
Garlic is the powerhouse of the allium family, but some research suggests that onions, leeks, chives, and scallions might also protect against stomach cancer.
No matter what type of cancer it may be, being diagnosed with it is always a sad and devastating blow to the patient and their loved ones, especially if it’s caught in the later stages, at which point it becomes very hard to cure. This is why it’s extremely important to do everything you can to try to prevent it from developing at all.
Always refer to a healthcare professional before starting a new health or dietary change.