Cancer Fighting Foods
We are exposed to toxins and carcinogens daily. In an ideal situation, where are arming our bodies with nutritious foods and supplements that can help fight disease, we are able to fend off these toxins and carcinogens. Today’s busy world makes it tough to maintain that high standard due to busy schedules, processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. It’s common knowledge that if cancer is discovered early, it’s most responsive to treatment and the prognosis is better. What if we can do this with foods that fight cancer?
Dr. Judah Folkman was a pioneer in cancer research, and he theorized that cancerous tumors could be “starved to death” by cutting off it’s blood supply. Without blood vessels to supply them with the nutrients necessary for expansion, microscopic cancers have nothing to do and nowhere to go. But as cancer cells mutate, they can hijack the body’s system of checks and balances, using angiogenesis (the body’s system to create more blood cells) stimulators to create the blood supply they need. A microscopic tumor, given a steady influx of blood, can grow to up to 16,000 times its original size in as little as two weeks. And, of course, what goes in must come out; the blood feeding the tumor is circulated back through the body, now bearing cancer cells that can take up residence in distant organs, leading to metastasis.
Forty years ago, he presented his thesis in the New England Journal of Medicine and was met with skepticism, ridicule and dismissal. Today there are 12 antiangiogenic drugs on the market for cancer treatment, with 26 more in the final stages of human testing and another 100-plus behind them in human trials. Every major pharmaceutical company has an angiogenesis program.
When we think about nutrition for fighting cancer, it’s easy to focus on the foods that we need to be eliminating, but there are several beneficial foods we should be adding to strengthen our armor against diseases.
Here are some cancer fighting foods to add to your diet today:
- Garlic-Garlic contains sulfur compounds that may stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer, and may have the potential to reduce tumor growth.
- Broccoli-All cruciferous veggies (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale) contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals, says Jed Fahey, ScD. A recent University of Michigan study on mice found that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells—those that aid in tumor growth.
- Kiwi– of cancer-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and copper.
- Berries-All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
- Tomatoes-This fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene. And that’s good news, because lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study in Nutrition and Cancer.
- Walnuts-They contain phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells’ growth, says Elaine Hardman, PhD, associate professor at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia.
- Beans-black and navy beans significantly reduced colon cancer incidence in rats, in part because a diet rich in the legumes increased levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which in high concentrations has protective effects against cancer growth. Another study, in the journal Crop Science, found dried beans particularly effective in preventing breast cancer in rats.
Along with avoiding processed meats, animal fats like meat, cheese, and butter and excessive alcohol, adding these power-packed foods to your daily menu can help you fight cancer.
Thanks for reading my guide about cancer fighting foods. If you’ve found some value in this, please share!
“Stand Up To Cancer — Foods That Fight Cancer.” Stand Up To Cancer, www.standuptocancer.org/article_archive/view/foods_that_fight_cancer.
Barrie, Leslie. “6 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods.” Health.com, 6 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods , 19 June 2012, www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20430736,00.html#broccoli-1.