Who hasn’t heard of Hippocrates’ famous quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”? Believe it or not this quote is actually true! Researches show that there are at least 14 cancer-fighting foods you can add to your diet that can help prevent various forms of cancer.
It is also true that poor nutrition habits and smoking increase the risk of cancer, as they impair the immune system. It is commonly known that antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and Beta-Carotene that are in abundance in fruits, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil, neutralize free radicals which are implicated in the formation of cancer cells. In addition, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains contain fiber which can reduce the risk of developing, especially, cancer of the large intestine. Researchers have also discovered phytochemicals in certain foods that work as a shield against breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.
Let’s see which of these foods are and why they have been classified as ‘cancer-fighting’ foods.
- Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals by inhibiting the intestinal absorption of certain fatty acids. They provide more potassium than bananas, they are a good source of Beta-Carotene and according to some researches they can help treat hepatitis, thus preventing liver cancer.
- Broccoli contains sulforaphane that combats colon-cancer and cancer of the large intestine. Studies have shown that the bitter the broccoli is, the larger the quantities of sulforaphane contain! Have also in mind that green leafy vegetables contain many substances that have been associated with anti-cancer action!
- Carrots contain large amounts of Beta-Carotene which protect your body from lung, stomach, intestine, prostate and breast cancer. Choose to eat carrots raw, since boiling removes many of their beneficial properties.
- Chili and jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin that helps prevent various forms of cancers such as stomach cancer, while figs contain the organic compound benzaldehyde a potential anti-cancer substance.
- Flaxseeds contain antioxidants that help fight free radicals and they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which protect against colon cancer.
- Garlic contains substances that are beneficial for the immune system, boosting the body in the fight against various cancers like liver, stomach and intestinal cancer. Do you know that people who consume large amounts of garlic have 50% less chances to develop gastric cancer? The anti-bacterial action of garlic against helicobacter protects both stomach and intestine.
- Grapefruits, oranges and lemons contain monoterpenes, substances with anti-cancer properties, which are extremely beneficial especially in the fight against breast cancer. In addition, oranges and lemons contain the substance limonin that regulates the function of lymphocytes that act against cancer cells.
- Grapes are rich in resveratrol that inactivates the enzymes responsible for the growth of cancer cells and activates the immune system. They also contain hepatic acid which blocks the enzymes involved in tumor growth.
- Mushrooms contain polysaccharides that help improve the function of the immune system, while lectin, a protein in mushrooms, fights cancer cells.
- Nuts contain one of the major flavonoids, quercetin, as well as another antioxidant component, cebferol. Some types of nuts contain large amounts of selenium, which is an important nutrient in the fight against prostate cancer.
- Papaya contains large amounts of vitamin C, one of the most valuable natural antioxidants, while its folic acid minimizes the chances of malformations and protects against many forms of cancer.
- Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries contain a wide variety of vitamins, trace elements, antioxidants and other anti-cancer ingredients which help against esophagus, colon and breast cancer.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene, which neutralizes free radicals. Researchers have shown that lycopene intake is associated with lower rates of breast, prostate, pancreatic and intestinal cancer.
- Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants such as Beta-Carotene, vitamin C and manganese. A protein found in sweet potatoes slows the growth of colon cancer cells by 65% and inhibits lung tumors by 50%.
And the list goes on!
A diet rich in anti-cancer foods that can protect you and your body from cancer is, with no doubt, the Mediterranean diet. Visit our Cooking Coach for complete weekly Mediterranean menus or create your own weekly menus choosing from a variety of recipes!
What’s New with Vicky
In this week’s section of “What’s new with Vicky”, we thought we would share a movie she really enjoyed. Laughter is amazingly healthy and is also cancer fighting. Vicky likes to go to the movies at least twice a week and when there is a good comedy playing, she prefers that. This week she saw “The Disaster Artist”. She highly recommends it, it’s a little funky but very funny!
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. A new study at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found what can cause lung cancer, and it is not smoking! How can you protect yourself against lung cancer? This blog will surely help you! Click to read it…
Kale is truly a superfood! It contains the organic compound indole that prevents the transformation from healthy cells to cancer cells. Roasted, steamed or raw kale is packed with nutrients essential for your body!
What about a kale salad for your lunch break next week?
V’s Kale Salad
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 bunch kale [ stems removed and roughly chopped ]
- 1 red pepper [seeded and diced]
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 cucumber [diced]
- 1 avocado [cubed]
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- 1/3 red onion [chopped]
- 1/3 bunch fresh dill [chopped]
- 1/3 cup unsalted walnuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- freshly ground black pepper [ to taste ]
- Himalayan sea salt [ to taste ]
- In a mixing bowl place the mustard, honey, balsamic, salt and pepper and mix together. Add the olive oil as you whisk the ingredients slowly.
- Whisk rapidly until the mixture is thick and shiny.
- Add kale, pepper, cucumber, dill, walnuts, seeds and raisins into a salad bowl.
- Drizzle with the balsamic dressing and toss to combine.
- Add avocado and toss gently once more to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!
Health Tips of the Week
1. Almost 90% of your body’s vitamin D, also known as “sun vitamin”, comes directly from the sunlight. Vitamin D protects us against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and now, a new study shows that it can also contribute to cancer prevention! Walk or exercise outdoors for 20-30 minutes and allow your body to produce adequate vitamin D levels.
2. Research shows exposure to light at night may increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer in women. Light suppresses the normal production of melatonin, the brain chemical that regulates our sleep-wake cycles, which could increase the release of estrogen-fueled cancer. A study showed breast cancer risk was increased among women who didn’t sleep during the times when their melatonin levels were highest. Turn off all your electronic gadgets, your TV, turn off the lights and enjoy your sleep!
3. Many dry cleaners still use a chemical called perc (perchloroethylene), which has been found to cause kidney and liver damage and cancer through repeated exposure or inhalation. Buying clothes that don’t require dry cleaning, or hand washing them yourself, can reduce your exposure to this chemical. If you must dry-clean your clothes, take them out of the plastic bag and air them outside or in another room before wearing.
Q: I had to quit coffee a long time ago since I have stomach issues. I’m not a huge fan of soft drinks and juices either. What other option do I have instead of coffee?
A: Drink green tea! 2-3 cups of green tea has the same amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee, but green tea is much healthier! Additionally, green tea contains anti-cancer properties due to its polyphenols known as catechins. According to studies, green tea can prevent the growth of tumors and the developing of breast, lung, esophageal, colon and skin cancer.
Q: I have heard a lot about turmeric and its ability to fight cancer. What is your opinion?
A: Turmeric is a powerful spice known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Researchers from the University of Texas Cancer Center have shown in a study published in 2009 that curcumin, the substance in turmeric, has the ability to “separate” cancer cells from normal ones and kill the infected cells.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates