Whether you are battling cancer, have a family history of the disease, or are looking for ways to prevent it, simple lifestyle changes, including your diet, can have a major impact. A diet rich in plant-based foods is associated with a lower risk for developing cancer, as well as reversing cancer in some cases. According to the National Cancer Institute, eating a healthy diet in conjunction with exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to the prevention of a third of all cancer diagnoses.
By eating smart, you can improve your health, your life expectancy, and lower your risk of developing cancer. It’s highly important to consume beneficial and vitamin-rich foods before, during and after surgery, radiation and other cancer treatments. The following foods have cancer-fighting and prevention properties.
Foods that May Help Prevent or Treat Cancer
- Berries. Fruits such as blueberries and strawberries are full of antioxidants, which can protect against cell damage, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. These berries especially help protect against mouth and neck cancers.
- Tomatoes. These fruits are rich in lycopene, a type of antioxidant that helps give tomatoes their red color and may help prevent prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
- Whole Grains. Whole grain foods may greatly reduce your risk of colon cancer. This is because whole grains contain a number of plant compounds, including phytochemicals, which protect against cells damage. Whole grains are also a great source of antioxidants and fiber, which is highly protective against colon cancer, but may also protect against breast, ovary, endometrial, and gastrointestinal cancers.
- Carrots. Orange vegetables and fruits including carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe are high in beta-carotene, a type of antioxidant, which can help prevent mouth cancers. Beta-carotene helps reduce the harmful effects of free radicals, which are the molecules in your body that cause cell damage, leading to the development of cancer.
- Fatty Fish. Fish, such as salmon, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against colon, breast and prostate cancer.
- Garlic. When garlic is crushed or cut, it releases immune-enhancing compounds that may help block carcinogens from entering cells and may also slow cancerous tumor development.
- Green, Leafy Vegetables. The American Institute of Cancer Research reports that kale, spinach and romaine lettuce are excellent sources of fiber and nutrients such as lutein and flavonoids, which may protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx.
- Green Tea. This type of tea is loaded with antioxidants and other cancer-fighting agents. Drinking about two to 10 cups of green tea a day may help patients with any form of cancer. Some studies on green tea and breast cancer have reported shocking results.
- Mushrooms. From shiitake to maitake to reishi mushrooms, these vegetables contain a number of vitamins that may naturally enhance your immune system and natural cancer-fighting abilities.
The consumption of fruits and vegetables may help in the prevention and treatment of cancer, but is not intended to replace more conventional methods of treatment, and should also be coupled with regular exercise and doctor appointments.
Author bio: Kaitlyn Teabo is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology to educate the mesothelioma community about asbestos and its related diseases.
American Association of Retired Persons. Foods That Help Prevent Cancer. Retrieved from www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-12-2012/foods-that-help-prevent-cancer.html#slide1