With cancer ranking second in the top U.S. causes of death according to the CDC, many people are looking for answers on ways to stem the spread of this deadly disease. Of course, no one answer can be pointed to as yet, but scientists have found properties in a few foods that might help. And since everyone has to eat anyway, why not make your diet work with you to reduce your risk of getting cancer?
As scientists probe the causes of cancer they examine the chemical constituents of foods, looking for elements that might contribute to cancer, as well as those that might help to prevent cancer. As a result of this research, there is a growing list of foods whose properties have shown potential to fight cancer. Many of them have demonstrated ability to kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes, while others have shown potential in both animal and human trials. While there is no guarantee that any of these foods will fight existing cases of cancer in humans or prevent it, it certainly does not hurt to find ways to incorporate these foods into the diet in order to fortify the cancer-fighting regimen in your body.
- Berries: Antioxidant Powerhouses – the humble family of berries is a treasure house of goodness, packed full of phytochemicals that offer healing and vitality to their human consumers. Blueberries often get the most attention, but other berries have many of the same properties: cranberries, blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, and strawberries all show to have similar phytochemicals that hold potent disease-fighting properties.
A variety of anthocyanins, phenolic acids, flavonols, and other elements appear to give berries their anti-inflammatory, antineurodegerative, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Specific research links blueberries to preventing breast cancer growth, but there is potential for many other applications as well. How much berries should you include in your diet? Some researchers say half a cup a day is sufficient, while others suggest as much as two cups per day. However much you decide to consume, keep in mind that fresh berries are believed to be much more powerful than juices.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables – the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that dark green leafy vegetables, things like swiss chard, spinach, leaf lettuce, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, and chicory, may help to prevent the growth of certain cancers and reduce the risk of getting cancer.
Carotenoids seem to be the primary factor in this class of vegetables, and seem to fight the specific cells of certain breast cancers, cancers of the mouth, stomach cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. Other contributing components include fiber, flavonoids, and folate. Pancreatic and colorectal cancers may also be prevented. Eating one and a half to two cups per week may provide some benefit, but some suggest eating as much as three servings per day.
- Walnuts – research produced in a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center and the University of California, Davis reveals that eating walnuts may help prevent and reduce prostate cancer tumors. Combine this with research from the Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia that shows potential benefit of walnuts in cancer, and you have good motivation for both men and women to include walnuts in their diets as well. Three ounces of walnuts a day may be enough to provide the cancer-fighting benefits.
These three food items barely scratch the surface of good foods you should be consuming, but they do give a good start for transforming your diet. And, they make the beginnings of a delicious lunchtime salad: rich leafy greens, some fresh berries, and a generous dose of walnuts. Add some chicken and a healthy, olive oil based salad dressing, and you will have a lunch fit for a cancer-fighting soldier!
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