Help your body win the war against cancer by providing it with the ammunition needed to prevent and protect against the different carcinogens. What is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent cancer? Answer: Healthy eating focused on plant-based foods. Fuel your body with the tools it needs to protect against cancer by eating these top 10 cancer-fighting foods.
These little fruits are full of cancer-fighting potential. Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all antioxidant powerhouses, largely due to their multitude of phytochemicals. These powerful agents prevent cell damage that could lead to cancer of the skin, bladder, lung, breast and throat.
Afraid that cooking will burn out all the beneficial nutrients? Don’t worry – heating up tomatoes will actually increase the amount of lycopene you’re able to absorb. Lycopene rich tomatoes will arm men with the potential to fight off prostate cancer.
3. Cruciferous vegetables
Why are all the healthy foods also the ones that you have to force your kids to eat? Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts are packed full of folate, potassium, fiber, and magnesium, but the main weapon against cancer is the phytochemical called glucosinolate. Glucosinolate helps defeat the cancer-causing carcinogens by inhibiting tumor formation, lessening inflammation and protecting cells from DNA damage.
4. Green Tea
Sipping green tea shows promising preventive effects against different forms cancer. Green tea battles with the help of almighty flavonoids. The main aggressor against cancer in tea is catechin. This polyphenol acts as a scavenger for cancerous cells and shows no mercy in destroying them. The cancer fighting effects of green tea can be enjoyed all year-round. Skip the hot chocolate and sit by the fire with a glass of hot tea, or in the sunny months enjoy the refreshing taste of iced green tea.
5. Whole Grains
What do whole grains have that the processed, white counterparts do not? Fiber! In addition to lowering cholesterol, fiber can also protect against several types of cancer. Whole grains attack cancer from all sides with a variety of compounds. Polyphenols, resistant starch, lignans and protease inhibitors all contribute to a good defense against cancer.
These juicy balls gear up to fight cancer with the power of resveratol, a strong polyphenol that resides heavily in the skin of purple grapes. Resveratol protects against cell damage and may help shoot down those pesky colon cancer tumors. While grape juice is also high in resveratol, raisins and grape jam are very weak. Red wine is not necessarily recommended as a source of this fabulous phytochemical due to the increased risk of cancer associated with alcohol consumption.
Beans do more than contribute to the natural bodily function of passing gas. They also help keep cancerous cells at bay by providing a variety of phytochemicals, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, inositol, and sterols. The resistant starch in beans provides food for the healthy bacteria in your gut to produce short chain fatty acids that act as a safeguard for colon cells. Dry beans, split peas, and lentils are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and anti-cancer compounds.
There’s a common theme when looking for anti-cancer foods – color! The main exception is garlic. Despite its lack of color, garlic still tops the list as one of the best cancer preventing foods. Several studies have shown that people who eat more garlic are less likely to develop certain types of cancer. Add garlic to those boring cruciferous vegetables for a double boost of cancer prevention.
9. Dark Leafy Vegetables
It may not be easy being green but it’s very beneficial to eat foods that are green – and this is not referring to mint chocolate chip ice cream. Spinach, kale and collard greens provide an ample amount of folate to protect you from pancreatic cancer. Folate plays an important role in repairing damaged cells and promoting healthy cell division. These vegetables are extremely nutrient dense so start filling your plate with lots of leafy greens.
Walnuts are the top nut for protecting against cancer. They contain several potentially protective nutrients like melatonin, polyphenols, alpha-linolenic acid, and vitamin E. Thanks to the phytosterol content in walnuts, these tiny cancer-fighting bullets may help slow the growth of breast cancer. Enjoy a small handful of walnuts each day to stay in good cancer-free health.
Jordyn Forsyth is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She specializes in weight management, chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Jordyn strives to educate, empower and encourage others to make sustainable lifestyle changes. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from Baylor University and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.