Foods that fight cancer

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The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and precention of disease. - Thomas Edison

It is known that heredity and "environmental" factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption , are important factors contributing to the risk of developing certain cancers. Another environmental influence that has garnered more and more attention is diet - both in terms of its role in triggering cancer and its potential role in helping to prevent it. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), 30 to 40 percent of all cancers are directly linked to food, physical activity, and body weight.


[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. Though what you eat can hurt you, what you eat can also help you. Many common foods contain cancer-fighting properties, from the antioxidants that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to the powerful phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to explore.

Today food is being viewed as a carrier of many important bioactive compounds that may prevent or cure a great deal of diseases and health issues. Unlike heredity, diet is one of the possible cancer contributors that we can change (along with smoking and drinking habits).

Food can be used as one of the natural remedies for cancer. Such food items can provide consumers with positive methods for fending off the baneful disease. There are plenty of healthy foods which help fight or fend off the deadly disease. Everything from flaxseed, to pineapples, from grapefruits to carrots, can assist an individual in fending off cancers as well as slowing down to development of certain cancer variants. What's more, many of the fine foods associated with cancer defense supply the consumer with additional nutritional advantages too.

[edit] All about foods that fight cancer

Scientists believe that no single food or food substances can protect you against cancer, but the right combination of predominantly plant-based diet may. Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy.

In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low-energy-dense, low calorie foods and probably protect against obesity, which, according to according to experts are implicated in the development of cancer. Higher body fats are cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, kidney, and breast in postmenopausal women. A predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and therefore protect against such types of cancers.

[edit] Red, purple or blue fruits and vegetables

American scientists have discovered that certain fruits and vegetables get their rich red, purple or blue color from natural pigments which act as powerful anti-cancer agents. Foods such as aubergines, red cabbage, elderberries and bilberries, contain compounds which restrict the growth of cancer cells and in some cases kill them off entirely, leaving healthy cells unharmed.

In lab tests it was found that foods with the highest levels of the compounds were most effective at slowing cancer growth. Foods such as exotic purple corn and chokeberries even stopped the growth of colon cancer cells. Foods less enriched with the pigments, such as radishes and black carrots, slowed the growth of colon cancer cells by 50% to 80%.

[edit] Beans

The active ingredients in beans such as saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid, play a role in cancer prevention include. These compounds, called phytochemicals, are found naturally in plants and appear to protect our cells from damage that can lead to cancer.

Saponins have been found in laboratory studies to have the ability to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells and slow the growth of tumors in several different tissues. Protease inhibitors slow the division of cancer cells and help to prevent tumors from releasing substances called proteases that destroy nearby cells. Phytic acid has shown the ability to significantly slow the progression of tumors.

Beans are also rich in fiber. Studies have found that foods containing dietary fiber, like beans, can decrease one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.

[edit] Berries

Berries are known as good sources of vitamin C and fiber. While Vitamin C helps protect against cancer of the esophagus, foods containing dietary fiber can probably decrease one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.

All berries, but particularly strawberries and raspberries, are rich in a substance called ellagic acid, which in laboratory studies, have shown the ability to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast. Ellagic acid seems to utilize several different cancer-fighting methods at once. It has been found in research that it acts as an antioxidant, it helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens and it helps slow the reproduction of cancer cells.

Strawberries also contain a wide range of other phytochemicals, called flavonoids, each of which seems to employ a similar array of anti-cancer strategies.

Blueberries contain a family of phenolic compounds called anthocyanosides, which many scientists believe are among the most potent antioxidants yet discovered.

[edit] Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale are cruciferous vegetables whose protective effect is strongest for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach. They help regulate a complex system of bodily enzymes that defend against cancer.

Research on cruciferous vegetables highlights several components that have been linked to lower cancer risk, including glucosinolates, crambene, indole-3-carbinol and, especially, isothiocyanates (which are derived from glucosinolates).

[edit] Dark green leafy vegetables

Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, along with saponins and flavonoids.

Researchers believe that carotenoids act as antioxidants to scour potentially dangerous “free radicals” from the body before they can do harm. Carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.

[edit] Flaxseed

Flaxseed is the best dietary source for substances called lignans which are classified as phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) and seem to mimic the action of estrogen in the body – a behavior linked to reduced cancer risk. Flax is also the richest plant source of one kind of omega-3 fatty acid, alphalinolenic acid (ALA). In several large scale studies, this fat has shown promising health benefits, including offering protection from heart disease and some cancers.

[edit] Garlic

Garlic belongs to the Allium family of vegetables which probably protects against stomach cancer. The Allium family also includes onions, scallions, leeks and chives. Research reports show that garlic, in particular, probably decreases one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.

The anti-cancer effects of allium vegetables come from the substances they contain including, allicin, allixin, allyl sulfides, quercetin and a large group of organosulfur compounds. In laboratory studies, components of garlic have shown the ability to slow or stop the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue.

Laboratory research has also shown that one garlic component, called diallyl disulfide, exerts potent preventive effects against cancers of the skin, colon and lung.

[edit] Grapes and grape juice

Both grapes and grape juice are rich sources of resveratrol, a specific type of natural plant chemical that belongs to a much larger group of plant chemicals called polyphenols.

The skin of the grape contains the most resveratrol, and red and purple grapes contain significantly more resveratrol than green grapes. Grape jam and raisins contain much smaller amounts of this phytochemical. Wine also contains resveratrol.

Scientists believe that polyphenols in general and resveratrol, in particular, possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In laboratory studies, resveratrol has been able to prevent the kind of damage known to trigger the cancer process in cell, tissue and animal models.

[edit] Soy

Soybeans are a type of legume, or bean. Foods made from soybeans include tofu, soymilk, soybeans, soynuts, miso (soy paste), tempeh, soy burgers and soynut butter.

Scientists believe that several active ingredients in soybeans, such as isoflavones, saponins, phenolic acids, phytic acid, phytosterols, and protein kinase inhibitors, may have anti-cancer effects.

Soy appears to contain some components that resemble very weak forms of the body’s natural hormones and can, as a result, mimic the actions of hormones under certain conditions and counteract these hormonal actions at other times.

[edit] Tomatoes

Tomatoes have attracted particular attention from prostate cancer researchers because lycopene, which gives it its red hue, and its related compounds tend to concentrate in tissues of the prostate. Experts have found substantial and convincing evidence that foods containing lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.

[edit] 90 degrees

Research is finding more and more evidences of food having anti-cancer properties. For example, the antioxidants in tea, called catechins, may inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Green tea contains more of these antioxidants than black tea, possibly because it is subject to less processing. But it is important to remember to release about 80 percent of its catechins, you must steep your tea for about five minutes.

Red wine is rich in phytochemicals, particularly compounds called polyphenols, which include catechins and resveratrol. These anti-cancer antioxidant compounds are found in the skin and seeds of grapes. And garlic contains organic allyl sulfur compounds that seem to help slow or prevent the growth of tumor cells. [1]

[edit] References:

  • Cancer Fighting Foods/Spices
  • Red and blue foods are the cancer fighters
  • Foods that fight cancer

[edit] Source

  1. HowStuffWorks