You might often see sensational headlines about “cancer fighting” foods. Does this mean you can cure cancer by eating these foods? Or that eating them will guarantee you never get cancer in the first place?
Unfortunately, no. That isn’t how it works. But it is true that many scientific studies have uncovered a correlation between certain foods and a lower incidence of cancer. Think of your diet as a preventive measure. The more anti-cancer foods you eat, the lower your odds of getting certain types of cancer.
1. Wine – in moderation, of course. Excessive alcohol intake is also correlated with cancer, but the resveratrol in red wine seems to be a powerful anti-cancer agent.
2. Cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, kale, broccoli, and collards, for example. Be careful not to overcook these veggies, as chewing seems to release their anti-cancer nutrients.
3. Green tea – but be careful to brew actual green tea. Don’t rely on those bottled drinks which are full of added sugar.
4. Salmon and other fish that are rich in vitamin D – this vitamin appears to interfere with the growth of cancerous cells.
5. Foods high in folate, or vitamin B9 – such as leafy greens or asparagus.
6. Ginger – ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can slow the growth of cancer.
7. Turmeric – the active ingredient, curcumin, has been proven to kill cancer cells in test tubes. Try to get this spice from your diet, not a pill.
8. Beans and lentils – these contain numerous phytochemicals that prevent damage to DNA (the very basis of cancerous disease). Also, they’re high in fiber, which is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.
9. Dark chocolate – get it as dark as possible. Chocolate in its most natural state contains catechins and antioxidants which are known to protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
10. Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and any other type of berry contain antioxidants that fight cancer.
How you choose to prepare and eat these foods is up to you. But remember not to add too many processed ingredients, or change your foods too much from their natural state, or they begin to lose effectiveness. In fact, you can undo most of the benefits by adding too much sugar or other unhealthy ingredients. Many people choose to prepare a powerful anti-cancer smoothie first thing in the morning, and view it as part of their regular health regimen. Others simply alter their diets to include more of these foods.
Of course, your genes and environment also play a role in whether or not you ever develop cancer. There isn’t anything you can do about your genes, other than get tested to see if you’re at risk of certain cancers that appear to be hereditary. As for your environmental conditions, avoiding negative factors such as cigarettes and excessive sun exposure can also slash your risk of contracting this terrible disease. Nothing is foolproof, of course, but if you combine a healthy diet with elimination of cancer-causing agents in your environment, you can drastically lower your risk of getting cancer.