“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
Despite cancer research and funding, cancer rates are still on the rise. Medically, we are getting good at sustaining life longer (major money maker) but yet we struggle in preventative measures. Now I’m not downplaying medical advancements in prolonging life, but have you ever thought of why there hasn’t been a major shift? You may think all of your answers lie inside of a pill or medical treatments, but it’s not.
Your greatest defense against cancer is healthy eating, exercise and living a nontoxic lifestyle. You may be surprised to read this but only 5-10% of cancers are hereditary. The remaining 90-95% are related to environmental and lifestyle factors (alcohol abuse, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, tobacco, stress, radiation etc.) Of that 40% is diet related. That’s a powerful stat – that means YOU play a major part in reducing your chances by making better lifestyle choices. I’ve compiled a list of 7 foods help prevent and combat cancer.
Berries: Berries are antioxidant powerhouses. These juicy fruits are not only low in sugar but also high in nutrients. They contain antioxidants like anthocyanin and ellagic acid that help fight free radicals (unstable cells) and normalize them before causing harm to your body. These treats may be instrumental in preventing cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, lung, and stomach.
Blueberries are my absolute fav but don’t discriminate against strawberries, cranberries and other berries you may enjoy! As a bonus, if you combine them with raw cacao you triple the amount of antioxidants in your blood.
Whole Grains. When you eat whole grains in their natural state (germ, bran and endosperm still in tact) you not only benefit from the fiber but also the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals it possesses. The phytochemicals act as antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage that lead to cancer. Research studies have shown that these antioxidants can prevent certain cancers such as: colorectal, gastrointestinal, pancreatic and certain hormone-related cancers.
Opt for whole grains such as: millet, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, wild rice and wild rice. Ditch or limit the white processed crap (white rice, pasta), which increases inflammation in your body.
Greens: Dark leafy vegetables such as collards, romaine lettuce, beet leaves contain carotenoids, powerful antioxidant, that can help prevent some forms of cancer (breast, lung, colon, stomach and skin cancers) and act to enhance your immune response to infections.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage and turnips contain special phytochemicals: isothyiocynates, indoles, and glucosinolates. These chemicals are known safeguard your DNA from cancer causing mutations. In some instances they may even prevent the growth of tumors.
Tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant in tomatoes that provides anti-cancer protection. Research studies show that eating tomatoes can reduce your risk for cancers of the colon, stomach, lung, and esophagus. Be sure to chop them up and lightly cook them to get the full benefit of the lycopene.
If tomatoes are not your thing, snacking on fruits like grapefruit, guavas and watermelon could also increase your lycopene levels.
Onions and garlic. I decided to combine these two, as they are both apart of the allium family (along with scallions and chives). They contain flavonoids and sulfur compounds that may inhibit tumor growth and prevent cancer development.
According to the ACJM, incorporating garlic and onions into your daily eating may reduce your risk of cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, breast, stomach, and colon.
Mushrooms. I want specifically highlight the benefits of shiitake mushrooms, which possess a compound lentian. Lentian has been shown to stop or prevent the growth of tumors.
For medicinal purposes, the extracts of compounds in shiitake mushrooms would usually be recommended, rather than the mushroom itself. For example, some Japanese researchers give lentinan along with chemotherapy to treat patients with lung, nose, throat, and stomach.
Citrus Fruits. To name a few that would be, oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes. These fruits contain a powerful antioxidant. vitamin C, that prevent oxidation in the cells caused by free radicals. This antioxidant may prevent more than one cancer such as: cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, lung pancreas, and stomach
As an added bonus, the peel contains another cancer-fighting antioxidant, monoterpenese. Be sure to grate the peel, or zest, and add it to your meal!
The key is to starting putting the green, yellow, blue, red, orange, and brown items you see in the produce section on your plate! Reduce meat consumption (stick to 4 oz, not the typical 6-8oz), avoid the wrong kinds of fats, processed and sugar-laden foods.
Remember, these pharmaceutical and food companies are multi-million and billion dollar companies. They are not focused on your health, but instead their bank accounts. Make better choices in life, and you’ll significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below. Are you currently incorporating these foods into your eating plan? If not, do you plan on eating more of these foods to reduce your risk of cancer?
Vanessa Cunningham is a New York-based nutrition & lifestyle coach and dynamic speaker. She helps busy working professionals reduce stress, banish unhealthy cravings, lose weight and get back their formerly-robust energy levels. A regular Huffington Post blogger, Vanessa has also been featured on Essence.com and MindBodyGreen. To learn more about her nutrition courses and upcoming events, please visit www.unhealthynomore.com.
If you are ready to take that first step towards living a healthier and more fulfilling life, apply for a health consultation with me.