Eating for Cancer Prevention
Good news food lovers, studies have shown that eating certain types of food may aid in cancer prevention. It is not completely clear on what foods to eat and its correlation to prevention, but researchers are working hard to uncover the mysteries of certain foods.
Some foods, especially fruits and vegetables are packed with phytochemical and antioxidants that protect cells from harmful compounds and prevent cell damage and mutation.(1) The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) suggests filling 2/3rds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, all of which contain compounds that may prevent cancer.(2)
Now you may be asking, which specific foods contain these compounds? These include garlic, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries.
The sulfur that makes garlic smell is also the one that may stop cancer-causing substances. Garlic also contains properties that battles bacteria that are found in your intestines. Studies have found that it illustrates potent preventive effects against cancers of the skin, colon and lung. To get the most out of this vegetable, peel and chop a clove of garlic and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes; this allows the enzymes to activate once they reach your body.
Broccoli contains a phytochemical named glucosinlates, which produces protective enzymes. One of these enzymes is sulforaphane. This chemical detoxifies harmful substances by acting as a antimicrobial agent and attacking H. pylori in your intestine. Broccoli may help to prevent cancer along your digestive tract, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus and stomach, and possibly within your lungs.
That bright red color of tomatoes may be doing more than increasing your appetite. Lycopene is a compound that acts as both a pigment and an antioxidant. Through studies, it has shown to have stopped some cancer cell types from growing through the boosting of the immune system. Immune cells are released into the bloodstream and regulate the growth of cells to prevent any abnormalities. For the best results, scientists suggest eating this fruit cooked and processed.
Berries, in general, are high in antioxidants and are beneficial for overall wellness. Strawberries have shown to have slowed the growth of cancer cells by destroying cancer-causing substances; this is done by ellagic acid. Another important compound found within strawberries are flavonoids. These chemicals suppress enzymes that damage DNA, thus decreasing the number of mutations.
Carrots, spinach and whole grains are also sources of phytochemical that are helpful for maintaining homeostasis within your body. The AICR also points out how carrying excessive body fat increases the risk of some cancers, so it is important to keep a healthy lifestyle. For more information on various foods, their chemical properties that aid in cancer prevention and which types of cancers they target, feel free to visit their website: www.air.org/foods-that-fight-cancer.
- Lee, Elizabeth. “Super Food That May Help Prevent Cancer.” WebMD. Ed. Brunilda Nazario. WebMD, N.d. Web
- “AICR’s Foods That Fight Cancer.” American Institute of Cancer Research. WCRF/AICR Global Network, 04 Dec. 2012. Web.
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