It’s time to beat cancer. Follow my story on how I fought and won.With some foods that prevent cancer, you can do it, too!
Before last year, I was nowhere near as knowledgeable about one of the easiest things a person touched by cancer can to do to help themselves: Addressing their simple diet plan. At the start of the year, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. This came as a major shock to me to say the least. I’ve always considered myself to be fit and healthy with good nutritional strategies. After the diagnosis, I increased my knowledge 100%. Thankfully, I have beaten the condition largely through the good use of quality nutrients in the right combos. I’d now like to share what I’ve learned and what has helped me.
Remember that good nourishment is a crucial weapon in the fight against cancer and any form of illness. Good cancer nutrition can be vital in increasing your personal odds of survival. A 2012 study found that there was overwhelming evidence that diet and exercise are key factors and can even prevent cancer returning.
Remember also that bioactive natural compounds in actual foods are likely to do you a lot more good than the typical gnc diet pills and medication that you’d get from the pharmacy. With that in mind, here are 10 foods that have helped many others and myself. Each can each play a role in the cancer-fighting process.
10 Foods That Prevent Cancer
#1 Brazil Nuts
I want to start off with one of the foods that worked best for me and seemed to make an immediate difference in the way I felt and looked: Brazil nuts. Six cracked Brazil nuts will give you your daily-recommended selenium requirements (100 to 200 mcgs).
Selenium is a potent anti-cancer agent. Eight slices of wholemeal bread, an organic egg, tuna, onions or a large chicken breast will also be enough to get the selenium quota, but the nuts are hard to beat! Cancer Watch has said that people who eat them every day live longer. Selenium is a trace mineral that kills cancer cells and helps the healthy cells to repair their DNA.
A 15-year study of more than 1,000 men with prostate cancer found those with the highest levels of selenium were 48% less likely to develop advanced disease than men with the lowest levels. Just two unshelled Brazil nuts is likely to result in 63% fewer prostate tumors, 58% less colorectal cancers, 46% fewer lung malignancies and a 39% overall decrease in cancer deaths. As a side note, walnuts also lower blood levels of insulin growth factor, a protein associated with prostate cancer.
#2 Green Leafy Veggies
These may seem to be too simple of a food to be considered super. But, along with avocado, beans, carrots, apricots, pumpkins and egg yolk, green veggies will give you folic acid. This will help your DNA to replicate properly and protect it during radiotherapy. Just 400 micrograms is the recommended amount.
Folate, biotin, niacin and vitamin B6 are all B vitamins that help in the cancer fight. Egg yolk, greens and whole grains are the best sources. It doesn’t end there. Green veggies also contain sulforaphane. These have strong cancer correcting benefits and have been shown to aid survival from colorectal cancer.
A diet rich in greens will help alkalize your body. I’ve learned only too well that a slightly alkaline body is important.
It boosts the performance of your immune system and research shows it stops new metastases. Cabbage, in particular, is loaded with antioxidants such as sulforaphane. This boosts your body’s free-radical enzyme production.
Broccoli has plenty of fiber, which helps eliminate toxins. This fiber is rich in galactose. It binds to damaging agents in the intestine and is one of the favorite foods of good gut bacteria. Broccoli also has what’s called indoles. This helps to fight estrogen driven cancers like some brain, breast and prostate cancers. One tip: Don’t microwave your greens to death! Microwaving broccoli destroys 97% of its cancer-protective flavonoids. Steam it. Or, you could eat it raw as a snack. You could also add it to salads.
Yes, it may not be the best smelling food. But, garlic really is pretty amazing. Active ingredients like allicin stop the spread of cancer in many ways. For example, they do so by stopping blood supply forming for tumors and killing microbes and yeasts. After taking drugs and antibiotics, the body is often susceptible to these.
Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory in the body. It has sulfur compounds that may stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer, and has the potential to reduce tumor growth.
Studies suggest that garlic can reduce the risk of stomach cancer by as much as 50%. And, like nuts, garlic contains selenium, tryptophan and sulphur-based active agents that attack cancer cells. I’ve found that two or three cooked cloves of garlic each day keep me strong.
Bonus: No bad breath side effect!
#4 Oily Fish
Fish oil benefits will provide long chain omega-3, a powerful anti-inflammatory in the body. This has been shown to re-lengthen telomeres, which shorten when you have cancer putting the DNA structure at risk and reducing longevity.
Oily fish also has vitamin A, an important vitamin in the fight against cancer. Herring, mackerel,l and salmon are top of the list. Fish oils have also been linked to reduced levels of prostate, breast and colon cancer. My personal favorite is salmon. Not only does it taste great, it also boasts being one of the best in fighting many forms of cancer. It’s been found that those who ate four or more servings of salmon per week were nearly one-third less likely to develop the blood cancers leukemia, myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Other studies show a link between eating all fatty fish (and the lower fat stuff like shrimp and scallops) with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer in women. Research shows they help to prevent cachexia when having chemotherapy. You’ll also get some cancer fighting from vitamin D. Omega-3 from fish then, is a crucial ingredient in your cancer-fighting diet. It certainly helped me enormously. (It’s worth pointing out the omega-3 from flaxseed is short-chain, which is equally important but has different benefits.)
#5 Carrots, Tomatoes, Beetroot, And Mushrooms
Firstly, carrots provide anti-cancer carotenoids such as beta-carotene. This converts to vitamin A when the body needs it.
Not a fan of crunching them raw?
One cup of carrot juice will provide 25 mgs. This is the same amount as 2 sweet potatoes, 16 dried apricots and 4 cups of red cherries.
A side note on eating carrots: Don’t eat them all at once. I’ve seen people turning a little orange! Try making a great juice with carrots and apples (for quercetin) and beetroot (for anthocyanins), as well as a small amount of raw ginger. This is a real cancer-fighting drink! Raw carrots have the added bonus of being high in pectins, your healthy gut bacteria.
Get 7 to 10 helpings of tomatoes per week, especially cooked. According to a study in 2013, 7 to 10 helpings a week cuts prostate symptoms by 40% and has an influence on many cancers (like lung, colon, cervix and breast). Lycopene is the prime active ingredient. Just 25 to 40 mgs is the desired daily dose. It is also found in strawberries, peppers, carrots and peaches. But, one tin of tomato soup has 65 mgs alone. Lycopene helps reduce bad fat levels in the bloodstream and is a strong antioxidant.
Then there’s beetroot. Or, you could opt for any purple colored fruits and veggies that have anthocyanins (and sometimes also resveratrol). Anthocyanins have been shown to kill cancer cells. Resveratrol has research supporting its role in fighting certain cancers like blood and brain cancers, too. (Recognize the name? Yes, it’s the super ingredient found in red wine!)
Lastly, there are mushrooms. There’s a vast body of research evidence now that shows how medicinal mushrooms (Shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, etc) boost the immune system and fight cancer. Even the button mushroom has cancer-fighting ingredients.
#6 Red and Yellow Peppers
You might be wondering what foods contain high vitamin c, some may surprise you.
On that note, red and yellow peppers are known to be one of the top sources of vitamin C. It’s even better than oranges. Vitamin C strengthens your immune cells and neutralizes toxins. It’s been said that cancer patients should consume 2 to 10 grams per day.
An average red pepper has 250 mgs. This is greater than papaya, which has 90 mgs. It’s also better than an orange, which has 65 mgs. Berries and cherries are also great options. Red and yellow peppers are also good sources of carotenoids.
#7 Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds
These are high in zinc and natural vitamin E. Zinc helps vitamin C do its work and accelerates healing time. It’s vital for a healthy prostate.
It’s recommended that you get 15 to 25 mgs per day. Five tablespoons of sunflower seeds gives you 10 mgs. So, too, will three or four oysters. Like the previously mentioned Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds will also provide a little selenium.
A nice way to start the day is to mix some pumpkin seeds into your morning muesli. Just 5 tablespoons will each provide 20 mgs of vitamin E, the ultimate cancer fighter. This inhibits cancer cell growth and protects immune cells from free radicals. Vitamin E really boosts your immune system. The suggested amount to aim for is 300 to 600 mgs. It’s hard to achieve without best workout supplements.
Lentils, chickpeas, beans and even soy are great sources of fiber and protein without the animal fat. Pulses also have isoflavones and provide fiber-like lignans that can help neutralize free radicals in the gut and bloodstream. I’ve found it best to eat pulses every two days.
#9 Grapefruit (And Other Citrus Fruits)
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in many fruits and veggies like grapefruit, oranges, peppers and broccoli. It helps to prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrogen compounds but don’t hurry to the grapefruit diet yet. High vitamin C diets have been linked to a reduced risk of cancers of the colon, stomach, bladder, breast and cervix.
These results are specific to vitamin C foods, not supplements. Sadly, supplements are less reliable. Instead of popping pills, eat your vitamin C whenever you can! It’s better for your body in so many ways. In fact, a daily dose of citrus fruits of any kind may also cut the risk of mouth, throat and stomach cancers by half.
I looked into artichokes for my own treatment and found that they’re a great source of silymarin. That’s an antioxidant that may help prevent skin cancer. They can look a little intimidating at first.
To eat them, simply peel off the outer leaves, slice the bottom and cut off the spiky top. Then boil or steam for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Drain, dip each leaf in a vinaigrette or garlic mayo and tear the fibrous covering off with your teeth, working your way into the heart. After that, scoop the bristles from the middle of the heart, dip into some lemon juice and enjoy!
Here Are A Few Bonus Foods
Turmeric has been proven to reduce inflammation when tested against 19 strains of H.pylori, the ulcer-inducing bacterium linked to colon cancer.
Add capers to your Bolognese to help combat the carcinogenic by-products of cooked meat.
Prunes are packed with antioxidants effective at fighting the free radicals that cause structural cell damage.
Use olive oil every day to neutralize the bile acid that occurs when eating fish and meat. This is one of the main causes of colon cancer.
If you cook rhubarb for 20 minutes, you’ll boost its levels of cancer-fighting compounds.
Rosemary is a great tasting herb to add to beef. In my opinion, when cooked it’s delicious and helps to prevent cancer.
These foods alone can’t beat cancer. They are huge parts of your battle against the disease, though. Be smart! Feed your body the foods that can fight off the disease and protect against it. With these 10 foods in your diet, you’re sure to be able to stand toe-to-toe against cancer. Combine them with the right treatment, attitude and approach to a healthy life and you just boosted your chances at winning!
By Keith Cormican, RD