The top ten cancer preventing foods
More and more people today are realizing the importance of a healthy diet in the prevention and treatment of many common health conditions, and the role of diet in the prevention of cancer is becoming increasingly clear. Where once scientists in the west were reluctant to attribute diet to a cancer free lifestyle, today many studies have borne out the importance of diet in the prevention of this serious disease.
The top ten cancer preventing foods are thought to include:
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes have long been known to provide many health benefits, and they are thought to play a role in the prevention of many forms of cancers. One of the most significant benefits of the tomato is thought to lie in the fact that it contains strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are thought to interfere with the cell damage that can be caused by free radicals. Free radicals are a natural part of the aging process, and they have been implicated in a number of different types of cancer.
- Blueberries – Blueberries are another fruit rich in all important antioxidants, and for this reason they are thought to play an important role in the prevention of many kinds of cancers. Blue and purple fruits, including blueberries are thought to lower the risk of some cancers, and they also are thought to improve memory function, promote a healthy urinary tract and even mitigate the effects of aging. Blueberries contain many healthy phytochemicals and phenolics, which are currently being studied for their anticancer and antiaging benefits.
- Red Cabbage – All varieties of cabbages and related plants, including such popular choices as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and bok choy, are very rich sources of calcium. However, red cabbage is one of the best sources of not only calcium, but flavonoids. These flavonoids are responsible for the rich purple color of red cabbage, and they are thought to have strong antioxidant properties. Red cabbage is perhaps the richest source of flavonoids in the vegetable world.
- Red Beets – As with red cabbage, it is the flavonoids abundant in the food that give red beets their distinctive color. Red beets are a rich source of many important nutrients, including the antioxidant vitamins which are thought to play an important role in preventing many types of cancer.
- Spinach – Spinach is one of those valuable dark green leafy vegetables that nutrition experts recommend. Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods available anywhere, and it is a rich source of both vitamin C and beta carotene. Both vitamin C and beta carotene are known to be powerful antioxidants, and studies have shown these antioxidants to play a role in cancer prevention. In addition, spinach is a rich source of folic acid, a vital nutrient for women of child bearing age. Studies have shown that those who eat two or more servings of spinach per week have considerably lower levels of breast and lung cancer.
- Garlic – Studies focused on the health benefits of garlic have shown time after time that garlic really does live up to its strong reputation for being a food that promotes overall good health and wellness. It is thought that the same sulfur containing compounds that give garlic its pungent aroma and its strong flavor also are able to protect people from cancer by neutralizing common cancer causing compounds in the environment. In addition, the compounds in garlic are thought to be capable of slowing the growth of tumors.
- Whole Wheat – In a recent study of the health effects of whole wheat products, scientists have found that those women who eat a lot of whole wheat in their diet have a significantly lower risk of both breast cancer and heart disease, two major killers of women. The wide variety of whole wheat products on the market, including pastas, cereals and breads, mean that it is quite easy to fit these healthy foods into any diet.
- Oranges – Oranges are among the most delicious, and most nutritious of all fruits. Oranges have long been loved for their great taste and their high vitamin C content, but oranges have shown significant benefits in preventing some forms of cancer as well. In addition to vitamin C, oranges are rich in many other anticancer compounds, including over 170 phytochemicals. In addition, oranges are rich in compounds known as limonoids. These limonoids are what give oranges and other citrus fruits there tangy and slightly bitter taste, and they are thought to be highly effective anticancer compounds.
- Strawberries – Strawberries are thought to be among the strongest of all anticancer foods, and a recent study found that those who consumed the most strawberries in their diet were up to 70% less likely to develop many types of cancer. Many other deep colored varieties of berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries, may share the anticancer properties of strawberries.
- Beans – many recent studies, and much anecdotal evidence as well, points to the anticancer and overall health benefits of all kinds of beans. Beans are packed full of many important compounds, including protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors are known to make it more difficult for cancer cells to gain a foothold in the body. In particular, fava beans are thought to have the power to block cancer causing compounds in the digestive tract, while soybeans are a rich source of isoflavones, which are thought to play a role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.