Healthy eating is considered one of the safest ways to avoid getting cancer. Though this carries some truth in itself, it’s still not a guarantee that you’ll be cancer-proof for the rest of your life. You see, there are many factors that are at play when it comes to developing diseases. The environment, lifestyle, work hazards, toxin exposure, nutrient deficiencies, and overexposure to the sun could be risk factors for cancer. There’s really no guarantee. Nevertheless, by watching what you eat and keeping yourself healthy, the odds would be on your side. These cancer fighting foods should then be in your diet.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are those that belong to the mustard or cabbage family. They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes. These vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that not only make you healthy but help your body fight against diseases as well.
The dark green varieties are rich vitamins A and C and phytonutrients, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention properties. Aside from this, the phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables also contain carotenoids, for eye and immune health; flavonoids, for protection against cancer and heart health; and glucosinolates, for toxins elimination.
To get the most out of these vegetables, you need to have them raw and fresh in your salads. Or, they can also be stir-fried. Just make sure not to overcook them to prevent losing the important nutrients.
All kinds of berries are great in fighting against cancers. But there are two that stand out, strawberry and raspberries. According to studies, these two are high in ellagic acid, a phytochemical that help prevents cancers of the lung, bladder, skin, breast, and esophagus. Recent findings show that these super berries have powerful antioxidants and specialized nutrients that help the body get rid of damaged or abnormal cells.
3. Green Tea
Green tea, a drink from dried leaves, is popular in Asian countries for its many benefits. Green tea contains polyphenols and catechins, the substances that have antioxidant properties that are tough on cancer cells. Though the evidence is not yet strong whether or not green tea can cure cancer, this drink offers lots of health benefits including immunity boost, increased energy levels, and cancer prevention. But since green tea is high in caffeine content, it may not be best for pregnant women. Aside from being a tea drink, green tea extracts are also available as capsules and supplements.
4. Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables
The bright colors in fruit and vegetables show the number of phytochemicals they contain. The brighter the color pigment they have, the stronger their anti-cancer agents are. Because these fruits and vegetables carry specific nutrients in themselves, this only means we have to eat all if not most of these colorful foods to provide our body with complete nutrients.
Red foods, such as beets, tomatoes, apples, and red peppers contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that fights against cancer. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables such as cherries, grapes, blueberries, and eggplants contain anthocyanins, which protect the body from free radical damage and improve heart health. Yellow and orange foods including carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mangoes, pineapples, and tangerines are rich in carotenoid, which help boost the immune system and promote proper communication between cells.
5. Leafy vegetables
A lack of folate has been linked to cancer. Though this doesn’t mean that folate can prevent cancer but including folate in your diet may work wonders. Folate and folic acid found in green and leafy vegetables have properties that ward off cancer. These leafy veggies include asparagus, beans, peas, and lentils.
6. Dark green vegetables
The dark green vegetables mostly belong to the cruciferous veggies such as chard, spinach, and beet leaves. These veggies contain beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all powerful antioxidants that can prevent cancer. They’re also a rich source of folate. The good news is, you can easily plant these veggies in pots once and enjoy the fresh produce for a longer time.
7. Ginger and turmeric
Ginger is a popular spice that has lots of health benefits, like anti-inflammatory properties, which can slow down the growth of cancer cells. Turmeric is another spice in the ginger family and is heavily packed with curcumin, a substance that can kill cancer cells quickly according to studies. You can use ginger and turmeric in its raw form or you can also have them as a pill. To ensure a daily dose, you can add these roots in your recipes regularly. You not only have tasty meals but keep your body healthy too.
Wine can be unhealthy for you when you drink too much of it because of its alcohol content. But when taken in moderate amounts, wine can be good for your body, especially in keeping cancer at bay. Red wine has a high concentration of resveratrol, which is good for heart health and cancer prevention. Experts recommend a glass of wine a day to keep cancer away. And for proper circulation too.
Most dieters cross out chocolate from their list because of its sugar content. But you shouldn’t totally eliminate chocolate, especially the dark variety from your list of healthy foods. The chocolate bar with at least 70 percent cocoa content is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols that help fight against certain diseases like diabetes and cancer. These chemicals also slow down the effects of aging. Other beneficial compounds found in chocolate are catechins, which protect the body from heart diseases, stroke, and cancer according to studies.
10. Foods rich in Vitamin D
According to studies, vitamin D helps reduce the risk of cancers in the colon and breast. It’s also found to improve the survival rates of lung cancer patients. The best sources of vitamin D include sunlight, preferably the sunlight in early mornings, eggs, fortified dairy products, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, beef liver, and cheese.