Some foods and spices contain compounds and properties that put them in the category of cancer fighting foods. That means you have an opportunity to fight cancer every time you eat a healthy meal, snack, or beverage that includes some of these natural cancer killer. Research into the anticancer abilities of various foods and spices has revealed some have more potential to prevent or reduce the risk of certain cancers than others.
With that being said, here is our top 10 list of cancer fighting foods.
Eating garlic could protect against bowel and stomach cancer, two of Britain’s biggest killers. It has long been recognized that garlic lowers the risk of heart disease and strokes through its effect on blood-clotting mechanisms.
Researchers have now found that people who eat raw or cooked garlic regularly face only half the risk of stomach cancer and two-thirds the risk of colon cancer. The findings were released as Prince Charles launched Loud Tie Day to raise awareness of bowel cancer. This form of cancer is the second biggest killer after lung cancer, with 30,000 new sufferers each year being diagnosed of -18,500 of whom will die. Approximately 10,000 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer each year. Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) have carried out a review of hundreds of studies investigating the role of garlic in preventing cancer.
Research suggests eating between one and two servings of garlic a day can be effective in protecting against cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating two to five cloves of garlic a week or taking garlic supplements.
Beans are one of the best sources of plant protein and provide an excellent amount of fiber, but they are also an important part of a nutritious diet because they have cancer fighting properties. Researchers at Colorado State University reported on the anticancer abilities of bean. They noted that beans contain a number of phytochemicals, which have been shown to prevent or slow genetic damage to cells. While this makes beans beneficial for helping to reduce your risk of many types of cancer, specific research has suggested they are especially potent in preventing prostate cancer. As an added bonus, the high fiber content of beans has been connected with a lower risk of digestive cancers.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of various cancers, including prostate, mouth, throat, colon, stomach, and bladder. A study in Urology found that carrots were agents associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer. A National Cancer Institute study also showed that carrots help reduce the risk of mouth and throat cancers. In addition to beta-carotene, carrots also have a cancer fighting substance called falcarinol. A study of falcarinol and intestinal cancer cells showed that falcarinol inhibited proliferation of the cells. To get the most benefit from this natural cancer killer, you should enjoy raw carrots because they retain more of their nutritional value, unlike cooked carrots, although raw or cooked, carrots are an important part of any cancer prevention diet.
4. Broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli sprouts are able to prevent, even reverse cancer by acting as an antioxidant that stimulates human cells to protect themselves. The radish flavor of broccoli sprouts comes from a phytochemical, which acts as a protector against free radicals. This phytochemical is there to benefit the young plant, but when eaten by humans it stimulates the protective qualities of our cells.
In 1992, a team of John Hopkins University scientist isolated a cancer fighting phytochemical in broccoli called glucoraphanin – a glucosinolate precursor of sulforaphane. This was followed by a discovery that this phytochemical is at least 20 times higher in the 3 – 4 day old broccoli sprouts versus the mature plant.
Broccoli sprouts contain a particular sequence of potent anti-cancer elements even though it actually has a lower nutritional content than the full sized broccoli. The sulforaphane, in the sprouts, work as a catalyst to boost enzymes in the body and these detoxification enzymes trigger ongoing antioxidant action for at least 72 hours.
Organic broccoli sprouts can be found in natural health food stores and broccoli seeds are readily available online. In fact, many people are now growing broccoli seeds using a jar or a commercial sprouting kit with trays. Protect your health by adding some delicious broccoli sprouts to your next meal and enjoy!
5. Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne pepper contains Capsaicin, which is the active ingredient that sets your lips, tongue, and everything else on fire. Turns out Capsaicin is also the ingredient that kills cancer cells, causing Apoptosis.
Cayenne is also a key ingredient in The Master Cleanse for its detox abilities.
The Hotter the Better: If you can handle the heat, Habanero Peppers contain 4-6 times more Capsaicin than Cayenne with a Scoville rating of 200,000 units. Yeeoow!!!
Mushrooms offer great benefits for overall health, including their ability to help fight cancer. Asian mushrooms in particular have been used for their medicinal powers by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years.
Asian mushrooms come in many varieties and some of the most recognizable are the shiitake, maitake, reishi, oyster, and cordyceps. Although you can benefit from eating Asian mushrooms, supplements that contain mushroom extracts also provide healing components.
One of those components is ergosterol peroxide, which researchers found to be effective against human prostate cancer cells. (Russo 2010) Specifically, they found that ergosterol peroxide inhibited cancer cell growth and triggered cell suicide (apoptosis), which prompted the researchers to say their findings “confirm the use of mushrooms as origin of compounds to be used as novel therapeutic agents for prostate cancer treatment.”
Raspberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and phytonutrients called anthocyanins, which may protect against cancer. In a study published in Cancer Research, rats given a diet containing 5% to 10% black raspberries had a 43% to 62% decrease in the number of esophageal tumors. In subsequent studies, black raspberry extracts inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells and also demonstrated activity against esophageal cancer in rats. In a recent Ohio State University study, black raspberry powder was given to patients who had colorectal cancer. The investigators found evidence that black raspberries had a positive impact on biomarkers of colorectal cancer, enough for them to conclude that additional studies of black raspberries “for the prevention of colorectal cancer in humans now appear warranted.” Raspberries may be an important part of a cancer prevention diet.
8. Green Tea
Start drinking up to a half-gallon of green tea a day, cold or hot, caffeine be damned. (Tea only has a third of the caffeine found in most coffee.) Green tea has epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechins, as tough on cancer cells as they are on the tongue to pronounce. EGCG retards cancer growth; and stomach and lung cancer rates in Japan would likely be even higher considering all the cancer-promoting salty food and tobacco there.
Note that in North America s it is very hard to find real green tea. What you are buying is green tea drink (sugar, water, and someone whispering the words “green tea” over the bottle) or green tea mix (a blend of teas to ease that natural bitterness of green tea). The best green tea comes from Japan; and Asian supermarkets carry many varieties, with the best brands being in boxes with letters you can’t read. Note also that black teas lose healthy catechins in the fermentation process; and decaffeinated teas lose catechins in the washing process.
Tomatoes are one of the most important sources of lycopene , a phytonutrient and antioxidant that is especially concentrated in tomatoes that are cooked or processed, such as in tomato sauce or tomato juice. Numerous studies have explored the relationship between tomatoes and lycopene and their fight against cancer, and one of the largest studies involved almost 48,000 men. In that study, the researchers found that men who consumed the most tomatoes and tomato products had a 35% lower risk of developing prostate cancer and a 53% reduced risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer. In a follow-up to this study published 7 years later, the investigators confirmed that frequent consumption of tomato products is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a part of the ginger family. The roots of the plant are ground into the spice that is the mainstay of curry, but it also responsible for making mustard yellow. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which gives the spice its peppery, bitter taste. Turmeric has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and in the treatment of colds and asthma in both Chinese and Indian medicine systems. Scientists have found that turmeric/curcumin also appears to contain some cancer fighting properties.
Scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, had noticed that in contrast to the high incidence of prostate cancer in the United States, disease incidence in India is very low. It has been suggested that this difference may be related to the fact that Indians consume large amounts of plant-based foods that are rich in phytochemicals, which have been shown to protect against disease.