One of our greatest fears is hearing the words You have cancer. We try to eat right, exercise, and get our prevention check-ups all so that we can fight off any bad cells in our bodies or at least detect them early in hope of destroying them. But we have another tool that can be found in our own kitchens. It is time to start incorporating the top cancer-killing foods into our daily diet.
The Top 8 Cancer-Killing Foods
What are cancer-killing foods, and what makes them so special? These foods, which are mostly plant foods, are filled with antioxidants and compounds that destroy cancer cells or prevent their growth. The good new is that they are easy to find.
Broccoli and its fellow cruciferous vegetables (think cabbage, cauliflower, kale, wasabi, horseradish, and Brussels sprouts to name a few) have cancer fighting properties, but broccoli can brag of its sizable amount of sulforaphane—a potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals. A recent University of Michigan study on mice found that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells—the cells that aid in tumor growth. Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables are particularly awesome at fighting bladder cancer (especially when eaten raw) as well as fighting breast, lung, liver, prostate, skin and stomach cancers.
Aim to eat at least ½ cup of berries each day. All berries are packed with phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, which can slow down the growth of premalignant cells. Look for organic berries when they are available—especially strawberries, which can be high in pesticide. Read more in Organic Buying Made Easier.
Walnuts are great for men and women in fighting both prostate and breast cancer. A growing number of studies are finding that walnuts can help protect against prostate cancer in preventing tumors from forming, reducing the size of tumors, and slowing tumor growth. In one study on walnuts, mice with prostate cancer tumors were fed the human equivalent of 3 ounces of walnuts each day. The mice had a 50% reduction in the size of their tumors. The growth of the tumors was slowed by 30%.
The carotenoid lycopene that is found in tomatoes helps fight lung, prostate, stomach and endometrial cancers. But studies have not shown that taking lycopene in supplement form is effective, so you need to get lycopene through diet. Other high lycopene foods include watermelon and apricots. Processed tomatoes (such as tomato sauces) have higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
Garlic is more than a tasty seasoning. The phytochemicals in garlic have been shown to stop the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogens formed in the stomach when you eat foods high in nitrates. Research shows that people who eat a lot of garlic have a 50% lower risk of colon cancer. Garlic is also useful in fighting breast, esophageal and stomach cancers. Anyone else thinking of cooking Italian food tonight?
There is mounting evidence from a number of studies showing that mushrooms contain anti-cancer compounds. Edible mushrooms have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat many conditions. The mushrooms that have been shown to be particularly effecting at inhibiting cancerous growths include shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms.
Pomegranates have a lot of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Pomegranate extracts are known to slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells, cause cancer to destroy themselves, and prevent the growth of new blood vessels, which tumors need for growth. They have also shown to help prevent lung cancer and destroy breast cancer cells while protecting healthy cells.
Beans and Legumes
Ahhh…who remembers the old song, Beans, beans the musical fruit…? Well it turns out these beans do more than produce gas. They also help fight breast and colon cancer as well as cancers of the mouth, throat and larynx. White kidney beans have been seen to have the greatest impact on cancer cells.
While this is by no means a complete list, these super foods are some of the more powerful and well-researched top cancer-killing foods available. Luckily they are generally easy to find and tasty too!