According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), “strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers. In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.”
The AICR finds that there are direct dietary cancer fighting benefits and indirect benefits. It has been found that carrying excess body weight, especially in the form of body fat, increases the risk of several cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight is a weapon to indirectly fight against cancer. A diet that balances vegetables and fruits that are low in calories can help you lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber and moderate in calories, which also helps in weight management efforts.
Research has also found that eating plant-based foods with their phytonutrients and other special compounds can directly prevent cancer. Here are six of the most recommended, from Shape Magazine.
Sorry, but mom was right. Broccoli is good for you. Broccoli and its cousins cauliflower, cabbage, and kale contain sulforaphane, a compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out carcinogenic chemicals. A separate study found that sulforaphane inhibits cancer stem cells, which spur cancer growth. Like kale better? Sorry. Of the vegetables in the broccoli family, broccoli has the most sulforaphane.
All berries are good cancer fighters, but black raspberries are extra good. They contain especially high concentrations of anthocyanins, which restricts blood vessel growth. Many cancers are characterized by rapid blood vessel growth to feed tumors.
Ever wonder what makes a tomato red? It’s lycopene, a well studied chemical with multiple health benefits, which is also called a carotenoid. Lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study– endometrial cancer is a type of uterine cancer that is responsible for nearly 8,000 deaths a year.
Go nuts! Walnuts are rich in cholesterol-like molecules called phytosterols. They have been found to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, thus slowing the cancer’s growth.
In addition to warding off vampires and mosquitos, garlic has been found to block nitrosamines, which can cause cancer in the intestines, including colon cancer.
The magical fruit! A diet rich in these legumes will increase levels of butyrate, a fatty acid that has been found to reduce colon cancer in animals. Another study found that dried beans help prevent breast cancer.
What Not to Eat
Sorry carnivores and paleo diet fans, but animal food tops the list of foods to avoid to prevent cancer. These include meat and dairy products, all of which tend to have higher levels of saturated fat, a no-no for your waistline and for your cancer risk. For protein stick with seafood, nonfat dairy products, and those magical beans!
Click here to learn more about MedicoRx®.