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Best Anti-Cancer Foods To Include In Your Diet Today!

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Superfoods That Fight Cancer

Fighting cancer with food is possible provided you have the right ones by your side. Your best bet is to opt for fruits and veggies that are bright red, blue, and purple in color (think berries, plums, eggplant, tomatoes, grapes, figs!). Equally beneficial are nuts and seeds, whole grains, probiotics, and anti inflammatory herbs and spices such as rosemary, oregano, turmeric.

If you’ve ever known someone who’s had to go through cancer, you’ll know how deadly this terminal illness can be. It can strike anybody at any time, sometimes without warning and with no chance of getting any treatment. Yes, cancer can grow in you for years and you may not even know. Worse still, even after chemotherapy and cancer treatments, there is a chance of relapse and going through the misery again.

The pace of life is fast these days, it is easy to forget about nourishing ourselves with healthy foods. Nature has a cure for almost everything–it allows us to protect ourselves from a variety of diseases just by eating right and following a healthy lifestyle. Certain foods known for their antioxidant content and immune-boosting properties can help you keep cancer away. In fact, research shows that routine consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with reduced risk of cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx, lungs and colon. In global populations where consumption of fruits and vegetables is high, the prevalence of the most common cancers is recorded to be low.1

And it’s not just fruits and vegetables that have anti-carcinogenic effects. There are a lot of other foods you can add to your diet to stay healthy, energized and free from cancer.

Superfoods That Fight Cancer

1. All Berries

High on antioxidants, the berry family of fruits is one the top foods that fight cancer. There is overwhelming evidence to support that strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and their cousins have beneficial effects against a variety of human cancers. Their anticancer effect is due to their abilities to counteract, reduce and repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation.
2

According to a study, blackberry and raspberry exhibited great potential to inhibit cancer cell growth. They inhibited colon, breast, lung, and gastric human tumor cells by 50, 24, 54 and 37 percent, respectively. This is because of their high levels of anthocyanins, a flavonoid responsible for the red, purple and blue pigments in fruits and vegetables.3

2. Herbs And Spices

In a study that examined a variety of herbs and spices, it was found that rosemary showed effective scavenging capacity against cancer cells. Oregano and bay leaf also showed promise against cervical cancer cells.4
A compound in clove called eugenol has also been observed to be a powerful cytotoxic agent. Its anti-tumour qualities work against different types of cancer cells, especially esophageal cancer cells.5

Turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, curry leaf, cumin, and caper are some other revered anti-cancer herbs. They have phytochemicals that can induce cancer cell death and inhibit the spread of tumor cells.6

Turmeric or curcumin, in particular, is one of the best stomach and blood cancer-fighting foods. The use of turmeric has shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancer primarily because it protects the body against a carcinogenic bacterium called H.pylori.7

3. Probiotic Foods

Probiotic foods promote a healthy gut by making good bacteria flourish. But did you know that they are also a potential anti-cancer agent? Several studies on humans and animals have shown probiotics to be effective against cancer, especially of the colon. They produce short-chain fatty acids in the colon and acidify it, lowering the pH. And lower colon pH levels are associated with a lower rate of colon cancer.8

4. Whole Grains

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, choosing whole grains over refined grains gives you a cancer-fighting edge. How? They are rich in dietary fiber, polyphenols, and lignans, all of which promote your body’s cancer-fighting abilities. They also have protease inhibitors that may help prevent the spread of cancer cells. So go ahead and load up on whole grains like bulgur, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, millet and more.9

5. Plums And Prunes

Plums can be helpful in the cure of cancers of the breast and colon. Dried plums (prunes) are rich in neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which are powerful anti-cancer agents. According to a study, when these and the phenols from plums came into contact with breast cancer cells, it killed the malignant cells without causing any harm to the healthy ones.10

6. Mighty Moringa

Medicinal plants like moringa have impressive anti-cancer properties. According to a study, the effect of moringa leaf extract was observed on a human tumor cell line. Due to the presence of phenolics such as quercetin and kaempferol, the increase and spread of the cells were reduced and cancer cells were also destroyed.11

Moringa has also shown great results with leukemia or blood cancer as well as ovarian cancer, causing many cancerous cells to die.12 13

7. Nuts And Seeds

Flaxseeds are one of the foods that can fight cancer tumors. They are especially wonderful for women. Rich in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and lignans, they are also a great source of phytoestrogens. Flaxseeds, have been shown to reduce breast cancer tumor growth by 45 percent, and also inhibit prostate cancer.14

Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and pecans are nuts that fight cancer because of the presence of antioxidants and polyphenols in them.15

8. Cruciferous Veggies

Those crunchy cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower do more than just add a punch to your salads. They contain sulforaphane that has anti-cancer properties. Researchers from various parts of the world have demonstrated that an intake of cruciferous vegetables is useful in cancers of the bladder, breast, prostate, and lungs.16

9. Juicy Tomatoes

One of the best antioxidant foods for cancer, tomatoes have a lot of health benefits. There is ample scientific evidence that high consumption of tomatoes reduces the risk of diseases caused due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) like cancer by improving the antioxidant capacity. The lycopene in tomatoes is what enables ROS scavenging, enhance detoxification systems, prevents the increase and spread of cancer cells.17

10. Dark Green Veggies

Before you wince or make a face, know this. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in the vitamin folic acid, which is crucial to DNA methylation and synthesis. What does that mean? It means folic acid has the potential to modify DNA at the epigenetic level. This makes it a cancer-fighting superstar. According to a study, 20 patients suffering from colonic adenoma polyps (gland-like growth on the mucous membrane of the intestine) were treated with folic acid. It was observed that folic acid could reverse DNA hypomethylation (a feature of carcinogenesis in the body that indicates tumor progression)in 7 of 12 patients who had only one polyp. A diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables (or folic acid) leads to a significant reduction in colon, rectal, and breast cancer.

If you overdose on alcohol, it is especially important for you to have a lot of this nutrient as drinking it substantially increases the cancer risk of a low-folate diet.18

11. Bright Red, Purple, And Blue Foods

Fighting cancer with food is possible if you have the right ones by your side. Opt for fruits and vegetables which are bright red, purple and blue in color as they are rich in the flavonoid, anthocyanin. This would include purple grapes, cherries, apples, red cabbage, all berries, eggplant, red wine, plums, pomegranates, red onion, figs, kidney beans, black beans and blackcurrant. There are scores of studies that show the cancer-fighting potential of foods with anthocyanins. It has been found to be useful against esophageal, skin and lung cancers in animals.19

References   [ + ]

1. Wargovich, Michael J. “Anticancer properties of fruits and vegetables.” HortScience 35, no. 4 (2000): 573-575.
2. Seeram, Navindra P. “Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56, no. 3 (2008): 630-635.
3. Bowen-Forbes, Camille S., Yanjun Zhang, and Muraleedharan G. Nair. “Anthocyanin content, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of blackberry and raspberry fruits.” Journal of food composition and analysis 23, no. 6 (2010): 554-560.
4. Berrington, Danielle, and Namrita Lall. “Anticancer activity of certain herbs and spices on the cervical epithelial carcinoma (HeLa) cell line.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012 (2012).
5. Dwivedi, Vinay, Richa Shrivastava, Showket Hussain, Chaiti Ganguly, and Mausumi Bharadwaj. “Comparative anticancer potential of clove (Syzygium aromaticum)—an Indian spice—against cancer cell lines of various anatomical origin.” Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 12, no. 8 (2011): 1989-1993.
6. Reddy, Rajashekhar, and Kaiser Jamil. “SPICY ANTI-CANCER SPICES: A REVIEW.” International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences7, no. 11 (2015): 1-6.
7. Sinha, R., D. E. Anderson, S. S. McDonald, and P. Greenwald. “Cancer risk and diet in India.” Journal of postgraduate medicine 49, no. 3 (2003): 222.
8, 14. Donaldson, Michael S. “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet.” Nutrition journal 3, no. 1 (2004): 1.
9. Foods That Fight Cancer, AICR’S.
10. Prajapati, P. M., A. S. Solanki, and D. J. Sen. “Nutrition value of plum tree for health.” International Research Journal of Pharmacy 3, no. 5 (2012): 54-56.
11. Sreelatha, S., A. Jeyachitra, and P. R. Padma. “Antiproliferation and induction of apoptosis by Moringa oleifera leaf extract on human cancer cells.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 49, no. 6 (2011): 1270-1275.
12. Khalafalla, Mutasim M., Eltayb Abdellatef, Hussain Mohammed Dafalla, Amr A. Nassrallah, Khalid M. Aboul-Enein, and David A. Lightfoot. “Active principle from Moringa oleifera Lam leaves effective against two leukemias and a hepatocarcinoma.” African Journal of Biotechnology 9, no. 49 (2010): 8467.
13. Bose, Chinmoy K. “Possible role of Moringa oleifera Lam. root in epithelial ovarian cancer.” Med Gen Med 9, no. 1 (2007): 26.
15. Healthy Nuts, University of Michigan Health System.
16, 18. Donaldson, Michael S. “Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet.” Nutrition journal 3, no. 1 (2004): 1.
17. Bhuvaneswari, V., and S. Nagini. “Lycopene: a review of its potential as an anticancer agent.” Current Medicinal Chemistry-Anti-Cancer Agents 5, no. 6 (2005): 627-635.
19. Wang, Li-Shu, and Gary D. Stoner. “Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention.” Cancer letters 269, no. 2 (2008): 281-290.