The consensus of the hundreds of studies exploring the link between diet and cancer is that eating more fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of all types of cancers.
The World Health Organization says that 70% of all cancers are easily preventable through dietary and lifestyle changes. Plants contain powerful phytochemicals. These are substances that help your body fight cancer. The five major classes of compounds that occur in fruits and vegetables as natural blocking agents against carcinogens are: phenols, indols, flavones, cumines, and isothiocyanates. These neutralizing agents prevent carcinogens from reaching critical target sites within the cell.
The most compelling research linking diet to cancer are studies of groups of people who have primarily plant-based diets, for example vegetarians and Seventh Day Adventists, and who have a much, lower risk of cancer. Studies of people who eat plant based diets, such as vegans, show that death rates from cancer are only about one-half to three-quarters of those of the general population.
Breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in countries where diets are typically plant-based. When people from those countries adopt a Western, meat-based diet, their rates of breast cancer soar. Plant based diets are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat-based diets. But there are other important factors also. For example, people who eat plant based diets usually consume more of the plant pigment beta-carotene. This might help to explain why they have less lung cancer.
Also, at least one study has shown that natural sugars in dairy products may raise the risk for ovarian cancer in some women. Some of the anti-cancer aspects of a plant based diet cannot yet be explained. For example, researchers are not quite sure why people who eat plant based diets have more of certain white blood cells, called "natural killer cells," which are able to seek out and destroy cancer cells.
Top Anti-Cancer Foods
Here are seven powerful anti-cancer foods, but this is no way implies that other foods don't kill cancer cells as well.
TURMERIC has anti-cancer properties and is known to protect the body from developing cancers. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been able to work miracles in even reversing cancers. Lots of studies in the world have shown that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and can prevent cell damage that leads to cancers. Painting turmeric in the inner cheeks has led to preventing mouth cancers in women. Numerous studies have found that curcumin suppresses the proliferation of cancer cells. In one recent study on hamsters with chemically induced tumors, subjects receiving topically applied and orally ingested turmeric and/or curcumin developed significantly less tumors than the control group. Researchers concluded that turmeric or curcumin may have a chemopreventive effect on precancerous lesions of the mouth.
A second study found that daily turmeric intake for 9 months contributed to regression of precancerous lesions in the mouths of humans. Thus, curcumin may be especially beneficial for smokers. In yet another study, Curcumin supplementation inhibited carcinogenesis in the stomach and colon, in mice. Other research showed that curcumin inhibited the growth of estrogenpositive, human breast cancer cells. Turmeric may encourage apoptosis of cancer cells - in other words, getting the nasty cells to kill themselves off. Curcumin's powerful antioxidant ability is also attributed with the compound's anti-tumor activity.
TAKE 1/2-1 TEASPOON OF TURMERIC A DAY. PUT IT IN FOODS SUCH AS SOUP, STIR FRYS AND ON POPCORN. OR MIX IN A GLASS OF WATER AND DRINK.
Other cancer fighting spices are ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and garlic.
AVOCADOS are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than in bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), and other sources of liver damage. Antioxidants in avocados have also been shown to help fight oral cancer, cervical and breast cancer.
EAT 1/2-1 AVOCADO DAILY.
TOMATOES Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. Lycopene attacks roaming oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, that are suspected of triggering cancer. It appears that the hotter the weather, the more lycopene tomatoes produce. They also contain vitamin C, an antioxidant which can prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer. Watermelons, carrots, red peppers also contain these substances, but in lesser quantities. It is concentrated by cooking tomatoes. Scientists in Israel have shown that lycopene can kill mouth cancer cells. An increased intake of lycopene has already been linked to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, pancreas and colorectal cancer.
EAT TOMATOES COOKED AND RAW WEEKLY.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES The vegetables most important to reducing the risk of cancer are the cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kale, and cauliflower. British researchers made headlines last year with a study that showed that men with early signs of developing prostate cancer prevented tumor growth by eating broccoli four times a week. Other studies have shown anti-cancer benefits from eating cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain three cancer-protective biochemicals: sulforaphane, which not only boosts immunity but blocks enzymes that draw carcinogens into healthy cells; compounds that prevent the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the intestines; and indoles, which lessen the risk of breast cancer. They also have a component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety.
However, be aware that the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found 30-fold difference in the amounts of sulforaphane. It appears that the more bitter the broccoli is, the more sulforaphane it has. Broccoli sprouts that have a consistent level of sulforaphane-as much as 20 times higher than levels found in mature heads of broccoli.
EAT BROCCOLI FOUR TIMES A WEEK, ADD BROCCOLI SPROUTS TO SANDWICHES, AND ADD KALE TO A MORNING SMOOTHIE. ADDING A BIT OF SEAWEED TO THESE FOODS ONCE AND AWHILE HELPS TO BALANCE OUT NUTRIENTS.
GARLIC, LEEKS & ONIONS According to the National Institutes of Health, studies of people from Southern Europe who eat a diet high in garlic and onions show a direct relationship between high consumption of "allium" vegetables (all types of garlic, onions, and leeks) and reduced risk of many common cancers. These foods have immune-enhancing allium coumpounds that appear to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help to break down cancer causing substances. These substances also help block carcinogens from entering cells and slow tumor development. Daillyl sulfide, a component of garlic, has also been shown to render carcinogens in the liver inactive.
Studies have linked garlic, onions, leeks, and chives-to lower the risk of stomach and colon cancer. Dr. Lenore Arab, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the UNC-CH (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) schools of public health and medicine and colleagues analyzed a number of studies and reported their findings in the October 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the report, people who consume raw or cooked garlic regularly face about half the risk of colorectal cancer as people who eat little or none. Their studies didn't show garlic supplements had the same effect. It is believed garlic may help prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there.
ADD RAW GARLIC AND ONIONS TO FOODS DAILY. DON'T INGEST MORE THAN FOUR CLOVES OF RAW GARLIC A DAY.
SWEET POTATOES -and other foods high in carotenoids contain many anticancer properties, including beta-carotene, which may protect DNA in the cell nucleus from cancer-causing chemicals outside the nuclear membrane. Japanese researchers prepared extracts of baked sweet potato and studied its anti-cancer activities. They found that extracts containing high phenolic compounds showed significant radical scavenging effects against the DPPH radicals. In addition, these extracts suppressed the proliferation of human myelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells with apoptosis induction in a dose-dependent manner. These extracts also blocked TPA-induced cell transformation in muse skin JB6 cell line.
Indian researchers studied 64 cases of gallbladder cancer and they concluded that a significant reduction in odds ratio was seen with the consumption of radish, green chilli and sweet potato among vegetables, and mango, orange, melon and papaya among fruits. What contributes to the anticancer benefits of sweet potato? The answer is anthocyanin. Japanese researchers found that the anthocyanins from extracts of tuber of purple sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas cultivar Ayamurasaki) had strong anti-oxidative activities.
EAT ORANGE FOODS EVERY DAY.
BERRIES & GRAPES the rich, dark colors of berries such as blueberries, acai berries and grapes contain phytochemicals that protect against numerous types of cancer. Most recently, researchers at the University of Florida found that the active ingredient in acai berries destroyed cancer cells when tested in cell cultures.
And blueberries and muscadine grapes contain compounds that recent research shows cause cancer cells in the liver to self-destruct. In fact, the anti-cancer properties of these berries are so strong that researchers have developing concentrated supplements and other products such as purees and concentrates. The two most widely studied cancer-fighting compounds in berries are ellagic acid (richest in strawberries and raspberries) and anthocyanosides (richest in blueberries). Ellagic acid is believed to help prevent skin, bladder, lung, and breast cancers, both by acting as an antioxidant and by slowing the reproduction of cancer cells. The anthocyanosides in blueberries are currently the most powerful antioxidants known to scientists and are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.
TRY TO EAT BERRIES AT LEAST 4 TIMES A WEEK.
Foods To Avoid
-White flour, white bread, white pasta.
-All processed sugar.
-Factory farmed animal products.
-Oils rich in omega 6 such as corn, sunflower, soy and safflower.
-Non organic foods.
-Excessive animal products (if you have cancer, eat only once a week).
-Foods that contain acrylamide such as french fries and potato chips.
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