Most likely we or someone we know had their life touched by cancer. Good nourishment has always been the most effective way to battle and more importantly prevent illnesses such as cancers. It’s no surprise that studies show getting our nutrition straight from healthful food sources is the most effective way to fight cancer developing rather than relying more on supplements, though with Vitamin E you may need supplements because the potency in nature may be too low. Also a plant-based diet will always overthrow a meat-based one when wanting to get as much nutrients per amount. The most natural forms of vitamin and mineral absorption from fresh, raw always beats even high quality pills. Here’s a list of wonderful food sources rich in cancer-fighting properties and are just overall good for you.
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil rich in Omega-3 fatty acids benefits DNA health, cell development and reproduction, and strengthens the telomeres or the sealing caps of DNA strands preventing damage from cancerous cells. Helping with hypertension and cardiac condition, fish oil provides long chain Omega-3 which has very effective anti-inflammatory properties and pain inhibitors. Short chain Omega-3 also is present and provides essential fiber and sends oxygen to tissues. Lastly fish oil is also rich in Vitamin A that comes with beta-carotene which strengthens organs to withstand diseases, improves the skin and eyes as well. Fish oil is great for strengthening all the body systems. Flaxseeds, cod liver, fish roe, radishes, nuts and basil also have a good amount of this essential fat.
2. Carotenoid-packed foods
Carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein benefit lowering the risks of eye diseases and certain cancers. They are found in lots of vegetables both root and leafy like carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, dark and leafy greens such as spinach and kale, squash, tomatoes, sweet red and yellow peppers, peas, broccoli, apricots and pumpkins. It is not advisable to eat a lot of these kinds of food at once because the red and orange pigments in beta-carotene can turn your skin orange.
3. Vitamin C rich foods
We all know that Vitamin C boosts our immune system, making it more efficient in fighting sickness. It’s best to get your ascorbic acid straight from the whole fruit unless the juice is freshly made, with no additives and its pulp included. Contrary to popular belief, oranges are not one of the most Vitamin C- packed foods. An example of crops higher than oranges in this vitamin is guava which is around 230mg per 100g with oranges at only 70 mg per medium-sized fruit in comparison. Sweet peppers are 180mg per 100g and dark, leafy greens go for 120. Other nutritious examples are: papayas, tomatoes, peas, berries, citrus fruits, kiwi and soursop.
Zinc helps is like a helping hand of Vitamin C helping it perform better. We need around 15-25 mgs of zinc daily, best source are oysters 78mg per 100g. Sunflower seeds provide 10mg for 5 tablespoons, though be warned milk can block zinc absorption. Sunflower seeds also have a bit of selenium that we’ll discuss later on. Beef and lamb contain about 12g of zinc per 100g with pork and chicken with just around 5-6mg, leaner cuts are advised of course. Wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, cashews, beans, mushrooms and even cocoa!
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble, superior cancer buster of a vitamin that plays a huge role in inhibiting cancer growth and boosting the immune system as well. 300-600mg is a good goal but is pretty difficult to achieve without using supplements but a mix of Vitamin E from food and supplement is best. It’s used for treatment of cancers, heart conditions, prevents the hardening of arteries, hypertension and muscle pain from blocked arteries especially in the areas of the chest and legs. It improves physical endurance and general health, fertility, peptic ulcers, and allergies which are some of the many areas Vitamin E can improve and help. Tofu, spinach, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, fish, avocados, shellfish, plant oils like olive oil, chilis and chili powder, squash and mangoes are some of the highest sources.
6. The wonder of mushrooms
Mushrooms were thought to not contain so much nutrients but prove otherwise, even button mushrooms are claimed to have cancer-fighting properties. This fungi contain as much antioxidants as carrots, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, green beans and zucchinis. It contains selenium which are not found in a lot of fruits and vegetables, this prevents inflammation and tumor growth because it detoxifies the system by acting as a booster for liver enzymes. Vitamin D is also present proven to inhibit cancer cell growth, its folate content makes healthier, stronger DNA structures so that it’s not susceptible to mutations. Mushrooms improve insulin levels too, great for diabetics. Riboflavin plays a role in metabolism, energy production and blood oxygenation.
Guavas are the champ for their amount of lycopene, not tomatoes actually but they still pack a punch of this very powerful antioxidant. It is a carotenoid that does not get converted to Vitamin A and gives many fruits and vegetables their red color, eating lycopene in excess amounts can cause the skin and liver to have a yellow or orange color as we mentioned earlier. This is used for heart disease treatment, human papilloma virus or HPV, prostate cancer, breast, lungs and pancreatic health. Watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, sweet peppers, asparagus, red cabbage, mangoes and carrots are rich in Lycopene.
8. Folate and Folic acid
One of the B vitamins that also include biotin which is great for hair and nail growth, niacin and B6. It plays a crucial role in RBC reproduction, maintenance of new cells and also prevents change in DNA sequences to avoid cancer. Folate is Vitamin B9 found in nature while Folic acid is the synthesized form. Dark, leafy greens are the best source with spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and romaine lettuce take lead. Asparagus, broccoli, citrus, papayas, peas, lentils, avocado, okra, beets and cauliflower are other examples.
Never forget your fiber for your stomach’s overall smooth and healthy functionality, with a lot of fiber you digest best. Fiber is rich in a substance called galactose which is an ideal food source for good gut bacteria, it also just as importantly binds itself to any harmful agents that can damage the intestine. Grains, oats, wheat, corn, nearly most vegetables such as the pea family, the bean family, artichokes, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, avocados, pears and berries have a good fiber content.
10. Gotta love garlic!
Garlic is a member of the onion family rich in Allicin which is where most of its benefits come from. It’s so good for you it helps stop blood supply going into tumors, it’s an antibacterial killing microbes and yeasts, prevents strokes and is an inflammatory that aids in digestion. It also contains Vitamin C, Manganese, Selenium, fiber and Vitamin B6.
11. Resveratrol or Anthocyanins
Foods rich in this nutrient are purple or deep red such as eggplants, beetroot, cherries, plums, and red grapes. Known to kill cancer cells and battling brain and blood cancer.
A plant hormone that resembling a weaker version of human estrogen. Protects against reproductive cancers, heart disease, skeletal condition and help decrease bad fats and excessive carb intake. Lentils, chickpeas and most especially soy is rich in this plant hormone.
Required for proper function of the thyroid, fights free radicals leading to damage that may cause cancer and aids in liver enzymes to function well. 70mg is recommended daily, too little Selenium and your joints can weaken and hurt, hair will be more brittle and fingernails can form white spots. Too much can lead to bad breath, diarrhea, hair loss even. It even displaces metal toxins like Mercury. Selenium-rich foods are Brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, whole-wheat bread, sunflower seeds, lean pork, beef and lamb, chicken and turkey, mushrooms and whole grains such as rye.
In conclusion, supplements are not a bad idea but you should rely most on whole, fresh produce for vitamin and mineral absorption. Go for more vegetables than an extra serving of meat, use good fats to cook with like olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils and grapeseed oil. Green tea is known to be packed with antioxidants and good health benefits so opt for a cup of leafy brew over sugary shakes and drinks. Exercise wouldn’t hurt at all, ask your doctor what physical activities are best for your current condition. Remember to love vegetables and restrain from animal fats.