6 Cancer-Fighting Foods

Cancer-Fighting Foods

Is there such a thing as cancer-fighting foods? Can certain foods prevent cancer? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” There is no food that can stop cancer in its tracks or bring your risk of developing cancer to zero. Eating healthy food can reduce your risk, but it won’t eliminate it. The good news, just in time for  Colorectal and Kidney Cancer Awareness month, is that many cancers can be prevented. Small lifestyle changes—including getting daily exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight—can significantly reduce your risk. So can eating a well-balanced diet rich in produce, whole grains, and healthy fats. As scientists continue to search for a cure, more and more evidence points to certain foods. The powerful substances they contain, as key weapons in the fight against this deadly disease. The next time you fill your plate, pile it high with these cancer-fighting foods.

1- Broccoli

Broccoli may help ward off cancer. This superfood contains isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, compounds that were shown to lower the risk of breast cancer. In part by lowering levels of a type of estrogen. It’s also a great source of the nutrients beta-carotene, vitamin C, and carotenoids. All of which have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer of the mouth, lung, and esophagus. Because of its high fiber content, broccoli can help lower risk of colorectal cancers.

2- Cranberries

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, which can help protect cells from free radical damage leading to cancerous cellular mutations. But that’s not all they do. In cell studies, cranberry extract and anthocyanins have helped decrease the growth of cancer cells of the breast, colon, prostate, and lung. And may even trigger these cancer cells to self-destruct. In some animal studies, those fed cranberries developed fewer cancers than animals. They didn’t have these tangy berries in their diet.

3- Low-fat Milk

If you’re still drinking full-fat or fat-free milk, try switching to low-fat (1% or 2% fat). This type of milk contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown to fight cancer cells in animals. Low-fat milk contains just enough fat to help your body absorb the vitamin D it contains, and diets rich in vitamin D have been shown to be protective against colon cancer.  Whichever you choose, do limit whole milk, as the high levels of saturated fat may boost the production of carcinogenic digestive enzymes.

4- Green Tea

If you’re a tea drinker, it’s time to go green. Green tea contains high levels of the compound EGCG, which has been shown to inhibit cancer cells in animal studies. What’s more, the polyphenols in green tea can help your body flush out carcinogenic compounds, helping to further decrease cancer risk. To lower your cancer risk and also boost flavor, consider marinating meat in green tea. It can neutralize some of the carcinogenic compounds that can form when animal proteins are cooked.

5- Whole Grains

You probably know that whole grains are healthy for your heart, but did you know that they may also decrease your cancer risk? Whole grains are rich in vitamin B6, which has been found in studies to help reduce the risk of colon cancer. For an added boost in the fight against cancer, whole grains also offer fiber, further lowering your colorectal cancer risk. Steel cut oats, a type of whole grain, are also a great source of magnesium, which has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 41%.

6- Coffee

Recent research has found that up to six cups (about 8 ounces each) of coffee per day may not increase cancer risk and in fact, may decrease the risk of some cancers. A few population studies found that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of cancers of the endometrium and liver. This may be in part due to caffeine, which can speed up the passage of carcinogens through the digestive tract. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant which may increase the self-destruction of cancer cells. Coffee also contains lignans, compounds that may have an impact on estrogen metabolism and cell growth, helping to reduce and slow the growth of cancer cells in the body.

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