It’s National Nutrition Month and the perfect time to talk about an important topic – cancer. Did you know that a healthy diet containing specific foods can actually help you prevent certain types of cancer? It’s true. So what are these super foods and what type of cancer protection do they provide? Read on to find out:
1. Broccoli – scientifically known as a “cruciferous” vegetable (the family that also includes kale, turnip greens, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), this green “tree” contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. When we eat broccoli and other veggies of its type, its various nutrient compounds act as natural inflammation reducers in the body. Inflammation is a serious risk factor for many types of cancer, including prostate and colorectal.
2. Berries – great sources of fiber and Vitamin C, these sweet little treats are powerhouses of protection. The antioxidants found in strawberries and raspberries specifically are known to help prevent cancers of the bladder and other types, by slowing the growth of and in some cases destroying cancer-causing cells in the body.
3. Tomatoes – these tasty fruits (yes, tomatoes are actually a fruit!) get their redness from something called Lycopene. A natural chemical produced by tomatoes, Lycopene has been shown to reduce prostate, breast and lung cancer risk in many laboratory studies.
4. Walnuts – containing important omega-3 fatty acids and other cancer-fighting nutrients, walnuts are believed to combat cancer through the promotion of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hormone regulation processes in the body.
5. Garlic – when part of a primarily plant-based diet, the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that garlic protects against cancer through its production of certain compounds that have been studied to slow or stop the growth of prostate, bladder, stomach and other cancer tumors.
While it’s important to include cancer-fighting foods in your everyday diet, you should also remember to always strive for balance on your plate. The easiest way to do this is to visualize your plate in three sections. Two of those sections should contain a combination of vegetables, fruits, while grains and/or beans. Try to allow only one section for animal-based protein for an optimal cancer fighting meal.