This year, two of my friends have battled cancer. One friend is doing well, and the other passed away. I lost all four of my grandparents to cancer. I guess you could say cancer has been on my mind lately. I have been doing some research into how to prevent and fight cancer.
Do you know the best way to reduce your risk of cancer? Eat a healthy diet.
Experts recommend a plant-based diet. That means eating mostly foods that come from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans. Lifestyle choices, bad eating habits and obesity may increase our risk of cancer more than our genetics.
To me, that’s important. By living a more balanced life, including eating a more healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress, I may be able to fight my chances of having cancer. That sounds good to me!
While researching, these are the top 13 foods that I found were recommended the most often:
I will be honest. I didn’t know what cruciferous meant. I had to look it up. Cruciferous means belonging to the plant family Cruciferae, which is basically known as the cabbage family. Examples of these types of vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale. And they all contain phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important to your health. They can also help lower your risks of getting cancer.
It’s important to include a variety of all vegetables in your diet. For instance, carrots and sweet potatoes contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce the chances of many types of cancers.
Dark greens, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, beets and red cabbage, provide fiber, folate and other cancer-fighting carotenoids.
Grapes and red wine
Red grapes contain bioflavonoids that work as powerful antioxidants to help prevent cancer. Grapes are also a rich source of resveratrol, which can inhibit cancer cell growth. Red wine has antioxidants known as polyphenols that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.
Eating more fruits is also good for your health. For one thing, if you’re eating fruit it means you may be passing up less healthy choices made up of sugar and refined flours. (Yes, that means cookies, cake, donuts, etc.) Fruits also provide cancer-fighting benefits. For instance, citrus fruits – such as grapefruits, oranges and lemons – contain monoterpenes. It is believed that monoterpenes sweep carcinogens out of the body to help prevent cancer.
All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Black raspberries have high concentrations of anthocyanins, which help slow down the growth of premalignant cells. Blueberries have also been shown to have many health benefits.
Once again, all fruits are a great addition to your diet. Eat more apples, pears, peaches, plums, pineapples, pomegranates, strawberries, blackberries, red raspberries, bananas, papayas, or any other fruits you like.
Avocados are rich in glutathione – another antioxidant that attacks free radicals. They also have potassium and beta-carotene.
A handful of walnuts a day can help reduce your risk of cancer. However, all nuts – including peanuts, almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts – make a good snack.
The omega-3 oils in wild salmon can dramatically reduce your cancer risk. Seafood, such as salmon, cod and shrimp, also have a high concentration of vitamin D.
Flax contains lignans, which may act as an antioxidant and help block cancerous changes in your cells. Flax also gives you essential fatty acids and other good fats.
Soy milk and tofu contain phytoestrogens. These substances help block and suppress cancerous changes.
Garlic – as well as onions, leeks, shallots and chives – has many anti-cancer substances. In particular, allicin appears to help break down cancer causing substances and enhance immunity to fight cancer.
You’ve probably already heard that green tea offers many health benefits. The antioxidants in green and black tea appear to prevent cancer cells from dividing.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene stops cancer cell growth. Tomatoes also have vitamin C which has been shown to prevent cellular damage that can lead to cancer.
I admit that I would rather grab a cookie or a fudge round than eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans. But as I work at finding more balance in my life, I am noticing time and again that eating a more balanced diet of healthy foods can have a huge impact on all aspects of my life.