Best Foods Against Cancer
It has been proved time and again that cancer can be defeated. Even though it's hereditary, there are measures to evade it. And since a step of prevention is worth a thousand miles of cure, here are some of nature's secrets. Cranberries
At the top of the charts is cranberries, followed by cranberry sauce and cranberry juice. “Gram for gram, cranberries appear to be the absolute best food for fighting cancer, heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton. Carrots
Bugs Bunny's comfort food is the most outstanding source of Vitamin A. “Foods rich in carotenes or Vitamin A are associated with a reduced risk of cancer,” according to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in the U. S. Dr. Richard Adamson, director of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention and his “family try to eat carrots – cooked or raw – everyday.” Tomatoes Tomatoes contain the anti-oxidant lycopene. A six-year study by Harvard University found that ten servings of lycopene-rich food in a week cuts more than half the risk of prostate cancer. Chili
They're hot sources of bioflavonoids – plant pigments linked with stunted tumors. Chilies are healthier than sweet peppers, and green varieties are more nutritious than red ones. 45 grams of red hot chili peppers has 65 mg of Vitamin C – nearly 100 percent RDA. The spice factor is capsaicin – an anticoagulant which actively prevents blood clots and alleviates mouth pain from chemotherapy. Grapefruit Grapefruits contain bioflavonoids and phenolic acid, which block tumor-provoking nitrosamines. Other plant chemicals in their disease-fighting arsenal are limonoids, monoterpenes and terpenes – producers of enzymes that frustrate cancer. Grape juice also hurts prostaglandins – the culprits behind inflammatory and autoimmune conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis, lupus). Nitrosamines are formed from nitrates – from pickled, salt-cured and smoked foods (e.g. bacon, sausage, luncheon meat). These are not poisons but eat moderately.
Seed Vegetables Lab tests prove that soybeans saved the lives of mice injected with carcinogens. Seed veggies and tubers have compounds “capable of inhibiting cancer in man,” according to Walter Troll, professor of environmental medicine at New York University. Scientists from USDA gives a rule of thumb: the darker the beans, the better. Researcher Clifford Benninger found that a half-cup of black beans is equal to two glasses of red wine. Choices also include mongo beans and black-eyed peas. Cabbages These cabbage patch balls contain indoles, compounds that neutralize BaP (benzo[a]pyrene) and DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene) – both responsible for breast, stomach, colon and rectal cancers. Indoles are at home with the cabbage family (e.g. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts). Milk
Aside from proteins (and lactose), milk is a rich source of Vitamin D. Blood samples from 622 subjects with prostate cancer and 1,451 cancer-free ones were taken by scientists in Sweden, Norway and Finland – and those with maximum levels levels of Vitamin D (600-800 IUs) were found to be 50% less prone to develop tumors. Other sources are tuna, salmon – and although it's not exactly edible – sunshine. Sweet Potatoes
These are powerful sources of fiber and beta carotene – the anti-oxidant correlated with decreased risk of cancer and coronary diseases. The chief mission of anti-oxidants is to sweep away free radicals – atoms that have lost their electron because of oxygen. This quest for new electrons triggers a chain reaction leading to cell degeneration. Other anti-oxidants include Vitamins C & E, lutein, zeaxanthin, glutathione and BHA ( butylated hydroxyanisole). Choices with honors are apples, asparagus, kiwi fruits, orange and lemons. (Note: asparagus is rich in folate which is crucial in fetal development. Folate [folic acid] also counteracts homocysteine – an accessory substance to heart disease.)
Portobellos and white mushrooms are excellent sources of selenium. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study discovered that patients with RDA levels of this trace mineral ( 55 mcg) were 5 times less likely to grow prostate. Studies from the City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles found that white mushrooms dampens estrogen enzymes – which ignites cancer among post-menopausal women.
Shiitake mushrooms contain the phytochemicals lentinan, an immune booster, and eritadenine, which mops up cholesterol. And all types of mushrooms have potassium, which stabilizes blood pressure.
This feature originally appeared in Philippine Panorama, May 7, 2006. Cranberries photo courtesy of DeltaNewsWeb.com