There is a reason we have an entire month dedicated to promoting awareness, prevention and research behind cancer fighting foods—The disease is recognized worldwide to be a major health problem affecting millions of people each year. Studies show that 30-40% of all cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and a good diet. Some sources even claim that 75% of cancer related cases are lifestyle related.
What we do know for sure is that free radical damage and oxidative stress from inflammation is truly at the root of cancer formation. Inflammation is mostly caused by eating foods that are toxic and have ingredients in them that our bodies do not recognize. Things like high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified food, hydrogenated oils, Monosodium Glutamate, and nitrates are all linked to cancer. Our bodies don’t know what to do with these toxins, so it naturally goes on high alert mode, causing inflammation.
Here are the top 10 cancer fighting foods you want to start incorporating into your daily diet plan to keep those cancer cells in your body from growing!
Dark Leafy Greens
Greens like Spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine and arugula are rich in vitamins like Vitamin C, beta-Carotene, Vitamin A and antioxidants.
Think cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. These vegetables are super high in vitamin C and are rich in glutathione which is known as the body’s “master antioxidant” since it has high free-radical scavenging abilities. Other veggies that are beneficial for lowering cancer risk are onions, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, carrots and beets.
All berries are the highest antioxidant food in the world. They supply vitamin C, vitamin A, and gallic acid, which is a powerful anti-fungal/anti-virus agent that increases immunity. They are also rich in proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which lowers free radical damage as well.
Brightly Orange-colored Fruits and Veggies
Get in those citrus fruits, squash, and Sweet potato! These fruits and vegetables are your phytochemicals that have high amounts of carotenoid antioxidants. Carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin) are derivatives of vitamin A.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory herb. It contains the active ingredient curcumin, which has been known to decrease tumor size and fight colon and breast cancer. Other herbs that boost the immune system include ginger, raw garlic, thyme, cayenne, oregano, basil and parsley.
Going organic with red meat, chicken and turkey helps avoid antibiotics in your food which kills your important gut flora. Organic meat also has many dense nutrients and are extremely high in vitamin B12. Organic meat naturally helps cleanse the liver and enhance the ability to remove toxins from the blood and digestive tract. Studies show that a 4oz. piece of grass fed filet of beef has just as many omega’s as a 4oz. serving of salmon! Omega 3’s are fantastic for fighting inflammation in the body!
Raw milk products like cheese, kefir and yogurt. Cultured dairy products are less processed. They do not pasteurize these products, therefor the “Good bacteria” or probiotics are left in tact in the food product. Good bacteria in your gut is crucial for good digestion and a strong immune system. Probiotics in food form or supplements have been shown to stop tumor growth and help cells renew. Fermentation of cultured dairy creates healthy probiotic in the food. Once pasteurized or cooked at high heat temperatures, that healthy good bacteria are killed along with many key vitamins and enzymes.
Nuts & Seeds
Chia seeds and flaxseeds are some of the highest nutrient-dense seeds. They provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and important minerals. Other seeds like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are healthy as well and are full of healthy fatty acids. Nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds are high in omega’s as well. They are all best served in their sprouted raw form for the most nutrients.
Oils like coconut oil, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil, and olive oil are all fantastic heart healthy oils to incorporate in your daily meal plan. We need essential fatty acids for good heart health and to burn fat. What we don’t need is hydrogenated oils, which are found in most processed food. These fats cause all kinds of problems including high triglycerides and high cholesterol. Refined and rancid fats create problems throughout your entire body, leading to lower immune function, cell congestion and inflammation that kicks off disease. These unrefined oils nourish your gut and promote better immune function, and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Plus, flaxseed and cod liver oil contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that can help energize your cells.
Wild caught Fish
Salmon, mackerel and sardines are anti-inflammatory omega-3 foods that are correlated with better brain, hormonal and nervous system health. Omega 3 fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory effects and evidence suggests a strong role for omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in cancer prevention and reducing symptoms of treatments like chemotherapy. Omega-3s have been shown to preserve muscle mass and function in chemotherapy cancer patients and contribute to a reduced inflammatory response resulting from the treatment’s toxicity. There are some grocery markets like Whole Foods that “responsibly farm” their fish, which means they are in clean waters and are not using antibiotics or food dye’s to raise their fish. In this case, farm raised would be beneficial but for the most part, get your fish wild.
For more cancer fighting tips, read our last article: Can Your Mind Prevent Cancer?