Cancer is a disease that has proliferated its way throughout the world and the incidence of the disease is growing daily in men, women and children.  The exact cause of cancer is still undetermined but we know it’s a major health problem throughout the world. Based on research, the cause of cancer can be traced from anything such as poor diet, toxin exposure, nutrients deficiencies.

For over fifty years now research has proven that there is a link between our environment (including the food we eat) and at least 10 forms of cancer. For example Richard Shekelle, M.D., and his co-workers found that smokers who ate lots of carotene rich foods were far more unlikely to develop lung cancer than smokers who ate few of these foods. In fact, the high carotene group was only one-seventh likely to contract the disease as the low carotene group.

A study from Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk found Inverse associations with some of these cancers have been noted for other dietary components e.g fresh fruits and vegetables (possibly reflecting vitamin C intake) with stomach cancer, and a high intake of vegetables (possibly reflecting intake of certain vitamins, components of fiber, or non-nutritive constituents) with colorectal cancer. 

Looking at these research studies, it is a strong argument that the best way to stay healthy and lower your risk factors from the controllable causes of  cancer is to look out for the nutrients in your kitchen. There are many foods which are available in your kitchen and has powerful anti-cancer benefits. Your food habit can play a major role in your overall health benefits, so choose your food wisely. Here are seven (7) powerful foods which lower the risk of cancer.

1. Broccoli

Also known as Cruciferous vegetables, Broccoli has cancer-fighting properties which contain sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables which boost the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals.

A study on mice found that sulforaphane helped kill cancer cells, that aids in tumor growth. It also reduces the size and number of breast cancer cells. Broccoli is high in phytochemicals and the antioxidants glucoraphanin and indole-3-carbinol. It has been proved that it reduces the risk of breast, cervical, gastric, bladder and prostate cancer.

Add these cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts to your meals. A Spanish study found that if you microwave broccoli, it destroys 97 percent of vegetable’s cancer-protective flavonoids. So, it’s better to steam it or eat it raw to take more benefits of broccoli. You can also add it to soup and salads or even to your top of the pizza.

2. Berries

All berries contain anthocyanins, a plant pigment that makes them high antioxidant foods. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries are easily available and numerous recipes can be made out of it and are delicious. Berries are rich in proanthocyanidin antioxidants, has anti-aging properties and it protects cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Other than many cancer-fighting nutrients found in berries, it also contains vitamins C, Vitamin A, fiber, Ellagic acids, and folate.

Among all the berries, blueberries are the most powerful source of antioxidants. Phytochemicals are found in blueberries include anthocyanosides ( one of the antioxidants) and resveratrol.

Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C which reduces the risk of esophageal cancer. Berries help in fighting oral, colon, esophageal, and skin cancer.

3. Garlic

According to AICR, Eating garlic frequently lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Sulfur compound gives garlic its distinctive scents and many health benefits. Each Clove of garlic

contains a variety of phytochemicals. When you crush garlic it releases allicin, an active compound, and it has been shown that these compounds kill off cancer cells in multiple test-tube studies. So, when you cook, chop garlic and add it to your pan first so that allicin can release.

In addition to that garlic also boost your immune system, excellent for your heart, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and is a natural detoxifier. For maximum benefits eat it raw. Add it your soup, used it for garnishing or used it in any recipes.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Selenium has an antioxidant property which improves the functions of vitamin E and C, it gives protection to women against breast cancer. Out of many nuts, brazil nuts are in the rich source of selenium which may protect against lung cancer. According to a five-year study conducted at the University of Arizona and Cornell, the data showed that “patients receiving selenium had a 63% decrease in cancer of the prostate, a 58% decrease in the colon or rectal cancer and a 46% decrease in lung cancer.”

Moreover nuts such as brazil nuts and walnuts are full of healthy fatty acids. Phytosterols found in walnuts help in fighting breast and prostate cancers.

Seeds such as chia seeds and flax seeds are the most nutrients dense seeds in the world. They contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and variety of important minerals. According to various research, flax seeds decrease cancer growth and help kill of off cancer. Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds are full of healthy fatty acids. Add these seeds to your favorite smoothies, sprinkle it to the yogurt or any baking dish and enjoy it’s health benefits.

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes have cancer prevention benefits

Tomatoes are superfood when it comes to fighting with cancer. A compound called Lycopene is found in tomatoes which gives it an anticancer property. Lycopene gives tomatoes it’s red color. According to the study in Nutrition and cancer, lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

Increase your intake of tomatoes to your diet. Add them to your sandwich, salads or pasta dishes.

6. Citrus Fruits

Some studies show that eating citrus foods such as lemon, grapefruits, and oranges helps to lower the risk of cancer because they are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C provides various health benefits and has an antioxidant property which protects against heart disease, cancer, and dementia.  These fruits also contain folate, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber which is good for overall body health.

7. Carrots

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Carrots are one of the most flavorful, economical, and widely available sources of carotene and carotene, the plant form of vitamin A has been proven with research to be potent in cancer prevention. In addition to cancer prevention benefits for example, fresh carrots are a good source of potassium, whether raw or cooked and are virtually fat free and high in soluble fiber.

7 Foods with cancer prevention benefits

These are seven (7) powerful foods that help in fighting cancer but other foods are just as helpful so it’s important to follow a diet that is rich in water and fat soluble vitamins, high fiber and lower fat content to achieve maximum health benefits. Along with those dietary considerations, a diet containing trace minerals such as selenium and as well as moderate alcohol consumption should also help to reduce preventative risks. Most of these foods are easily available and inexpensive and are the best to add to your diet to lead a healthy life.

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