It is generally known that eating nutritious foods helps us feel better and be healthier. But, did you know that diet is related to up to 50% of cancers? The good thing is that certain foods can lower the risk of developing cancer or help you have a better quality of life on your cancer journey.
Which foods prevent and fight cancer?
When it comes to cancer-fighting foods, nothing beats produce and plant-based foods. Certain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oats, beans, nuts, spices and teas provide unique benefits not found in other foods. These benefits help minimize the risks of some cancers and can even slow tumor growth and recurrence.
How do Produce and Plant-Based Foods Fight Cancer?
Produce and plant-based foods help you fight cancer in several ways. To fully benefit from their cancer-fighting compounds, the best thing is to eat whole foods and avoid supplements.
Carrots, tomatoes, and spinach provide you with antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage that might turn them into cancer cells. For instance, a diet high in lycopene (tomatoes) may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
Did you know that abnormalities in our DNA can turn normal cells into cancer cells? This is why greens such as spinach, kale, or arugula are so crucial in our diet. Leafy greens are a rich source of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that helps with DNA formation and, in some cases, DNA repair.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoli sprouts, turnips, brussels sprouts, and cabbage have multiple cancer-fighting benefits. They contain sulforaphane, which can turn off certain carcinogens. It can also start the natural process of cell destruction, which can be crucial to preventing cancer. These vegetables also contain indoles, which can prevent or slow hormone-receptive cancers, like breast cancer.
Beans, Legumes, Soy
Beans contain several cancer-fighting substances that protect cells from damage, prevent or slow certain cancers, and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is best to eat cooked beans to prevent lectins (proteins) from irritating your stomach. Food such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans and soy should be a part of your diet.
Oats and Whole Grains
Oats, brown rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa, corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes are all low glycemic index carbohydrates, which can be healthy in controlled portions. Low glycemic index foods avoid spikes in blood sugar that can lead our bodies to store more fat.
Spices such as turmeric, basil, oregano, dill, garlic, ginger, parsley, rosemary and thyme can reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants, both crucial for cancer prevention.
Fruits, Healthy Oils, and Other
Oils like canola oil, flax oil, grapeseed oil are healthier than others and can have cancer-fighting properties. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats that can lower your cholesterol. Berries, melons, watermelon, apples, citrus fruits, mushrooms, asparagus and green tea are also great cancer-fighting foods.
More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.