In a fast-paced life, it’s hard to find the right combination of foods. With office jobs often exceeding 9 to 5, sedentary lifestyles and the easy availability of junk food, the world is increasingly prone to deadly diseases like cancer. According World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. While no single food can completely prevent this disease on its own, several foods can greatly reduce your risk. In fact, your diet and nutrition influence your entire health profile. An ideal way to protect your health is to include a variety of these foods to prevent cancer.
Here are the top 15 foods that can help you keep cancer at bay.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. The red color of tomatoes is due to the presence of lycopene which also serves as an anticancer agent. While the compound is effective in raw and cooked tomatoes, it is more easily absorbed in the latter state. Lycopene plays an important role in reducing prostate and esophageal cancer. Experts recommend a daily intake of one or two tomatoes in the form of salads, in stews or curries, etc.
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are filled with various compounds that exhibit cancer-fighting qualities. This family of fruits includes lemons, grapefruits, oranges, limes, etc. Research suggests that at least three servings of citrus fruits a week are necessary to lower your risk of cancer. As citrus fruits are beneficial for the digestive and respiratory tracts, they protect against cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus and related organs.
The bioactive compounds in mushrooms act as antitumor agents. They work on the cells in our body to regulate and prevent the growth of tumor-related cells. The research found that the daily consumption of half to a cup of mushrooms reduces the risk of breast cancer by almost 70% or the intake of fresh mushrooms (greater than or equal to 10 grams per day) and dried mushrooms (greater than or equal to 4 grams). per day) decreased risk by 64% and 47%, respectively. At high levels, estrogen and other associated hormones are known to result in breast cancer. The compounds present in mushrooms help to control the secretion of these hormones, thus preventing the formation of breast cancer cells.
Nuts are among the healthiest foods to prevent cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Most nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and Brazil nuts, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For example, Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium, which prevents prostate, stomach and bladder cancer. Likewise, walnuts reduce the development of breast cancer cells. Regularly eating nuts reduces cancer mortality by 60%, according to recent studies on the subject.
Olives are loaded with many cancer-fighting compounds. These small fruits are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet and are popular for their health benefits. Studies have shown that the dietary use of olive oil limits the risk of colorectal and breast cancer. Olives and oils carry compounds that kill cancer cells in the human body. It is important to choose the least processed olive oil to reap the health benefits. Likewise, olive oil should not be overheated or reheated as it can degrade and produce harmful compounds.
6. Cruciferous vegetables
Common cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are rich in anticarcinogens. The compounds present in these vegetables effectively eliminate cancerous tumors and inhibit associated genes. They also stimulate the body’s enzymes that work against cancer. For example, studies have shown that broccoli contains compounds that eradicate prostate cancer cells and deplete tumor volume by more than 50%. Adults are advised to have 2-3 cups a week of cooked or raw broccoli or cauliflower for maximum benefits.
7. Whole grains
In addition to being high in fiber, whole grains like quinoa, oats, and brown rice work as strong anti-cancer agents. These foods contain chemicals that stop the growth of cells linked to colorectal, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
One group of studies indicates that the daily consumption of whole grains reduces the risk of breast cancer by 47%. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) recommends that a minimum of 3 ounces, or 90 grams, of whole grains be consumed daily to lower your risk of cancer.
8. Allium vegetables
Allium vegetables include garlic, onions, leeks, etc. These foods have been used in traditional medicine since ancient times. Laboratory studies reveal that allium products contain compounds with tumor-inhibiting qualities. Garlic in particular decreases the likelihood of gastric cancer, and a daily intake of 2-5 grams of garlic is recommended.
The plant pigments in the berries have potent antioxidant properties. Various research results demonstrate that berry extracts attenuate the development of cancerous and tumor cells. Experiments performed with black raspberries show that they decrease the percentage of tumor cells by more than 60%. Similar results were found with blueberries and blueberries. One to two servings of berries daily can maximize these benefits.
Cinnamon is a common spice used for aromatic and flavoring purposes. Its constituent compounds are known for multiple health benefits, including tumor-killing function. Cinnamon not only reduces cancer cells but also induces their death. Test-tube studies have shown that cinnamon extract or oil suppresses the spread of cancer cells and shrinks tumor size. Adding 2-4 grams of cinnamon daily to your diet provides optimal nutrition.
Another fiber-rich food, flaxseeds provide heart-healthy fats that are also helpful for cancer prevention. These seeds predominantly alter and regulate estrogen metabolism, thus preventing the risk of breast cancer, particularly in younger women. Flax seeds also prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells in men. Nutritionists advise a daily intake of 10 grams of raw flax seeds. You can just chew them or sprinkle them over yogurt, smoothies, salads or soups.
A great source of antioxidants, carrots substantially reduce the chances of developing lung, stomach and prostate cancer. Carrot intake has a relatively less intense, but similar, impact on other types of cancer. Carrots contain pigments called carotenoids, which are excellent antioxidants and are responsible for the reddish color of carrots. Carotenoids promote the self-destruction of abnormal cells and increase enzymes that monitor cell growth. The surest way to good health is to eat a serving or two of carrots in your daily diet.
It would be wise to say that an apple a day keeps cancer and other diseases at bay. Research studies reveal that consumption of apples reduces the likelihood of cancer of the respiratory and digestive tracts. In addition, it also decreases the likelihood of breast cancer. Like other cancer-fighting agents, apples are full of compounds with antioxidant properties.
Legumes are seeds of plants belonging to the family of lentils, peas, beans, etc. They come in several varieties and protect against different types of cancer, such as stomach, breast, kidney and prostate cancer. Legumes are full of dietary fiber, vitamins and other minerals that prevent cancer cells from developing. For example, research has found that beans block the growth of up to 75% of cancer cells. A few servings of legumes a week are an ideal way to fight cancer.
15. Tea and Coffee
Beverages like tea and coffee are extremely rich in antioxidants. In fact, tea varieties, due to their anti-cancer nature, are even used in cancer therapies. Research shows that regular consumption of green tea protects against skin cancer. Likewise, the daily intake of tea tremendously reduces the chances of gastric cancer, specifically in women. But the consumption of these drinks should be moderate and without sugars / sweeteners and milk, for the benefits.
In addition to the foods mentioned above, there are many other foods to prevent cancer-like illnesses. The similarity between these foods is their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Both features regulate cell growth and boost immunity.
In a nutshell, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing cancer cells from forming.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A. There is no definitive research linking organic products to cancer prevention. The nutritional value remains the same regardless of whether a food has been organically grown or not. But yes, food free from chemical fertilizers, insecticides, etc. help reduce the risk of health problems.
A. Yes, studies show that vegetarians have a slightly lower risk of cancer than non-vegetarians. This is usually because an excess of non-vegetarian foods, especially processed red meats, can stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
A. Gluten is a protein that has no harmful effects, except for people with gluten intolerance or similar health conditions. It is present in whole grains, which are among the foods that fight cancer. Therefore, a gluten-free diet has no role in reducing cancer.
A. Yes, water reduces the chances of cancer as it eliminates toxic elements from the body and helps maintain a healthy temperature. In addition, it aids in the efficient assimilation of nutrients.
A. No, microwaves and similar methods do not cause cancer, as the radiation emitted is not carcinogenic. However, cooking or heating any food to very high temperatures can lead to chemical formations that can cause cancer.