Cancer is a rising health condition and scares most of the population. This may be due to the lifestyle and food habits. Whatever may the reason be, the number of cancer patients is rising.
You can reduce the risk of developing cancer by adding certain foods to your daily diet. These contain compounds that can fight cancer-producing cells and keep the immune system healthy.
Foods That May Help Fight Cancer
Let’s examine a few foods that can help fight cancer or that may lower the risk of developing it.
Blueberries are good sources of vitamins C and K and dietary fiber. They also contain antioxidants that help protect the body cells from damage. They are also one among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity.1 This is due to the presence of phytochemicals like anthocyanins, catechins, quercetin, and resveratrol.
Because of their antioxidant activity, blueberries can reduce or prevent cellular damage which may lead to cancer. You can add blueberries to your breakfast cereals or have them with pancakes. They also taste well in baked goods like blueberry muffins.
Tomatoes get their bright red color from a compound called lycopene. Lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of cancer, especially lung, stomach, and prostate gland cancer.2
You can add tomatoes to your salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, and other foods of your choice.
Turmeric is a spice very commonly used in Indian dishes. Turmeric is known to be a cancer-fighting food because of the presence of curcumin – the principal active compound in turmeric. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and is also an immune system booster.3
Because of all these properties and more, turmeric can help ward off cancer. Turmeric is generally added to curries and can also be added to meat and other vegetables while cooking them.
Certain compounds in garlic have anti-cancer properties which can protect the body from cancer. Studies show that garlic can address cancers of the stomach, colon, head and neck, lung, breast, and prostate.4
Adding garlic to your pasta sauce enhances the flavor. You can also add them to your favorite soups and even saute vegetables with chopped garlic.
Most of us enjoy mushrooms in pizza toppings and soups. However, recent studies have shown that certain varieties of mushrooms, or medicinal mushrooms as they are popularly known, have anticancer and antitumor abilities and may help to treat cancer patients.5
Some studies also show that a particular exotic mushroom extract may reduce the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy – therapies used to treat cancer.6
You can have mushrooms in pasta dishes, soups, quiche, or even in sandwiches.
6. Green Tea And Black Tea
Tea has been used both as a beverage and a medicine for centuries. Recent findings show that teas, in particular, green and black tea can help treat or reduce the risk of developing cancer.7
Both black and green tea contain antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids that can help prevent cellular damage that may lead to cancer. A class of flavonoids called catechins have been known to have anti-cancer properties. Tea is a good source of catechins for the human body and it is found that green tea has three times more catechins than black tea.8 Green tea has been effective in treating cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. However, more research is required to substantiate its use in cancer treatment.
7. Cocoa Beans
Chocolate is an all-time favorite. It only gets better because studies suggest that cocoa beans and its extracts may be helpful in treating cancer.9 They have a high concentration of catechins and other antioxidants that can help the cells from damage. Damaged cells lead to cancer. However, there are mixed results about the anticancer activity of cocoa beans and more research is required to substantiate the claim.
The American Cancer Society recommends having small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa.10 These have less sugar and saturated fats when compared with other kinds of chocolates.
|↑1||Blueberries. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑2||Giovannucci, Edward. “Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature.” Journal of the national cancer institute 91, no. 4 (1999): 317-331.|
|↑3||Kuttan, Ramadasan, P. Bhanumathy, K. Nirmala, and M. C. George. “Potential anticancer activity of turmeric (Curcuma longa).” Cancer letters 29, no. 2 (1985): 197-202.|
|↑4||Fleischauer, Aaron T., and Lenore Arab. “Garlic and cancer: a critical review of the epidemiologic literature.” The Journal of nutrition 131, no. 3 (2001): 1032S-1040S.|
|↑5||Patel, Seema, and Arun Goyal. “Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review.” 3 Biotech 2, no. 1 (2012): 1-15.|
|↑6||Mushrooms in cancer treatment. Cancer Research UK.|
|↑7||Yang, Chung S., and Zhi-Yuan Wang. “Tea and cancer.” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 85, no. 13 (1993): 1038-1049.|
|↑8||Foods That Fight Cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research.|
|↑9||Carnésecchi, Stéphanie, Yann Schneider, Sheryl A. Lazarus, David Coehlo, Francine Gossé, and Francis Raul. “Flavanols and procyanidins of cocoa and chocolate inhibit growth and polyamine biosynthesis of human colonic cancer cells.” Cancer Letters 175, no. 2 (2002): 147-155.|
|↑10||Can Chocolate Be Good For You? American Cancer Society.|