by Shira Graber
Day after day, study after study emerges touting new ways to prevent and reduce the risk of cancer. Eat this, don’t eat that. Drink this, don’t drink that. It seems like the research points fingers in different directions every day. Though the flood of information can be conflicting, one thing is clear — the cause of one-third of cancer deaths is poor nutrition.
So how can you beat the beast? Confirmed studies show that crunching and munching on the following vitamin-rich foods is a tried-and-true method of keeping cancer at bay!
- Tomatoes – These tasty spheres are bursting with the powerful antioxidant vitamin C and lycopene. Vitamin C bolsters the immune system and fends off cancer-causing free radicals, and lycopene is instrumental in cutting the risk of stomach, mouth, bladder, cervical, colon and prostate cancer.
- Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower, kale, red beets and brussels sprouts all belong to this veggie family. All are amply fortified with cancer-fighting phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, beta-carotene and indolcarbinol.
- Spinach – Popeye knew his nutrition. This dark, leafy vegetable is chock-full of antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid and carotenoids. Bright orange carrots are also an excellent source of beta-carotene and carotenoids — chemicals known to curb various cancers.
- Beans – Beans, beans, they’re good for … beating digestive and breast cancer! Soybeans are stocked with protease inhibitors that don’t let cancer cells invade the body, and also contain isoflavones instrumental in protecting against breast cancer. Fava beans fight carcinogens, reducing the risk of cancer in the digestive tract.
- Hot red peppers – Biting into these zesty peppers may set off a fire in your mouth, but the capsaicin inside snuffs out harmful carcinogens emitted by cigarettes and some foods. These hot numbers are number one in protecting against lung cancer.
- Garlic – This member of the onion family isn’t only powerful in flavor and scent. Garlic effectively thwarts carcinogens with organosulfides and allicinthus, helping to protect the body from breast cancer.
- Oranges – Jam-packed with cancer-fighting bioflavonoids and immune system-boosting vitamin C, oranges also contain 170 photochemicals, including carotenoids. In addition, limonoids found in oranges and other citrus fruits fuel the immune system to fight cancer.
- Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and red and purple grapes boast more than a sweet taste. These bite-sized fruits get their dark hue from anthocyanins that can neutralize carcinogens. Plus, berries are bursting with flavonoids, a powerful group of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
- Fiber-Rich Foods – Foods full of fiber, such as whole wheat, grains, fortified cereals and apples, protect the body from pancreatic and stomach cancer while also helping to flush toxins from the body. And apples provide an additional cancer kicker with their ample supply of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid inhibits cancer cell division, thus thwarting the growth process of breast, pancreatic, esophageal, skin, colon and prostate cancer — confirming that apples truly do keep the doctor away.
- Green and Black Tea – Long heralded for their health benefits, black and green tea are teeming with antioxidants known as polyphenols, the most potent called catechin. Whether you drink them cold or hot, green and black tea can help you fight cancer.
It is optimum to eat organic forms of these foods — free of harmful pesticides or poisons. In keeping with the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Food Pyramid, shoot for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables and six to eleven servings of beans and grains on a daily basis. Don’t be intimidated by the numbers. Servings are small and can be satisfied with one piece of fruit, a half a cup of fruit or vegetables, or one slice of bread.