We all want to stay healthy and one step ahead of cancer - that’s no surprise. Here are some of the foods you should be eating to do just that:
1. Tomatoes. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can reduce your risk of breast, prostate, pancreatic and colorectal cancers. Lycopene is concentrated when tomatoes are cooked, so your best lycopene sources are spaghetti sauce, tomato paste and ketchup.
2. Broccoli sprouts. These are sprouts actually developed from broccoli, and they are the only product out there that guarantees consistent levels of sulforaphane GS, a natural compound in broccoli and other cruciferous plants that support our bodies' own antioxidant function. Sulforaphane may reduce your risk of stomach, breast and skin cancer.
3. Berries are very high in antioxidants. They get their mouth watering colors from antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Look for fruits and vegetables with the deepest colors to get the highest concentration of anthocyanins, but they all have properties helpful in fighting colon and esophageal cancers.
4. Soybeans are known for their isoflavones and they help us fight breast and prostate cancer by protecting our cells from estrogen's harmful effects. There are several kinds of isoflavones in soy products, but one, called genistein, may be the best defense against the growth and spread of cancerous cells. However, findings are not conclusive. Be careful about using too much soy in your diet - it can cause hormonal imbalance that stimulates the growth of cancer cells.
5. Tea. Tea has catechins (also called polyphenols), which are the potent antioxidants that fight cancer growth. Catechins work by preventing the cancer cells from dividing, and may reduce your risk of liver, skin, stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas cancers. Green tea's claim to fame is a very powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), but black tea has its own arsenal of cancer-fighting ingredients.
6. Carrots, and any brightly colored vegetables, are all chock-full of beta-carotene. There has been some research that indicates beta-carotene can actually cause cancer, but that’s only possible if you eat these vegetables in mega quantities. A substance called falcarinol, found in carrots, might cause some cancer cells to grow more slowly, but carrots must be eaten raw to get its full effect. The cancers that beta-carotene targets are lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast.
7. Spinach is the vegetable known as the “gold standard” of all green, leafy vegetables; it has the most vitamin E and lutein to ward off cancer of the liver, breast, prostate and colon. Spinach has a carotenoid, called neoxanthin, that can cause prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, and is then converted in the intestines to something called neochromes, which put prostate cancer cells into a state of stasis so that they can’t reproduce.
8. Garlic has the power to increase activity of immune cells that fight cancer and help break down cancer-causing substances. Garlic contains allium compounds that help block carcinogens from entering cells, therefore slowing tumor development. Garlic has anti-bacterial effects against a bacteria found in the stomach, helicobacter pylori, that is known to promote cancer there.
9. Pineapple is an excellent source of the enzyme bromelain; it’s a proteolytic enzyme, which means it helps digest protein. That’s important, since fibrin is a protein that promotes blood clotting and slows down blood circulation in the body. Studies have shown that bromelain might protect against breast and lung cancer, and it’s also been used as a complementary tumor therapy.
10. Apples contain quercetin. It’s a major bioflavenoid in our diet, and it has the ability to reduce lung cancer risk and the growth of some prostate cancer cells. It does this by blocking the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to cancer cells. Quercetin is also a phytoestrogen, which means it can mimic the effects of estrogen. The quercetin you get from citrus fruits can reduce the growth rate of breast cancer cells by 50 percent.