Cancer Awareness Month — 7 Foods To Prevent Cancer

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is preventable and your diet can make a difference. Your body has trillions of cells, and every hundred days your cells die and new ones are generated. It’s like an opportunity for a whole new you.

But sometimes some cells can misbehave and grow into tumours or cancers. In a way, what you eat can greatly influence the health of your cells. Therefore, one way to prevent cancer is through your diet. There are some foods that research indicates could help you prevent cancer. Here are 7 of those foods that can form part of your healthy diet to decrease your chances of developing cancer.

1. Curry Your Way To Health

Curry contains turmeric curcumin which helps prevent cancer by reprogramming those misbehaving cells to auto-destruct. One easy way of adding curry to your diet is by generously sprinkling it into whatever you already have planned for dinner, like a carrot soup or a fish dish.

2. Berry Good For You!

Berries are great for you because they contain polyphenols that are active compounds which help combat cancer. They are also rich in manganese, vitamin C and fibre. Make smoothies with them, add them to your yogurt for a mid-morning snack or use them to spread over whole grain bread instead of using jam which only adds sugar and calories to your diet. You can also spice up your salads by adding a touch of colour and sweetness with berries. One great way to preserve them is to freeze them, that way you’ll always have berries around for easy and practical meals and snacks.

3. Green Tea Time

Green tea is very rich in antioxidants that could help in the prevention of cancer. However, it’s best to drink tea alone and not as part of your breakfast or meals. This is because it could compete with the absorption of other nutrients. Recent research indicates that green tea contains substances that can inhibit the growth of tumours.

4. Probiotics For Health

Good bacteria like lactic acid bacteria which can be found in fermented products can be very beneficial to the digestive system and even prevent gastrointestinal cancer. The benefits of probiotics are in their capacity to inhibit tumour-promoting agents. Other good bacteria for your health can be found in kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso soup as well as fermented milks and yogurt. If you don’t like any of these you can also obtain isolated probiotics in capsules or easy to eat gels.

5. Edible Mini Trees

Broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, horseradish, cabbage, wasabi, turnips, watercress are all cruciferous vegetables. They are very rich in fibre, carotenoids, vitamins C, E, K, folic acid, and many minerals. Another thing they have in common is that they contain a substance called glucosinolates which gives them their characteristic spicy aroma and sometimes bitter flavour, especially when they are raw.

The nutrients in these foods that are attributed to preventing cancer released while we prepare, chew and digest them. Research indicates that these substances could help protect our cells, deactivate substances that could cause cancer and even stop the growth of tumour cells. Try making them into soups by cooking them and adding almond milk and spices. One very healthy and delicious snack that you could pack in your lunch bag is cauliflower with a touch of light mayonnaise and pepper. You’ll love it!

6. What Garlic And Onions Have In Common

Allium vegetables include garlic, onion and leeks. Including these vegetables can protect you against different types of gastric and colorectal cancers. What’s so good about them is the organosulfur compounds which are especially important because they can actually stop cancer cells from growing. Crushing, chopping or chewing garlic can also release substances that our beneficial for our health.

The trick is not to cook them too much, since if we apply too much heat to them these beneficial nutrients can be destroyed. Try adding fresh garlic or onion to your soups, salads and dressings. One delicious way of eating garlic is to mix it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip your whole grain bread into.

7. Think Green

Don’t just think boring ol’ lettuce, find some exotic dark leafy greens to spice up your salads. Try adding kale, spinach, collard greens, chicory and chard. You can eat as much as you want and prepare them in as many ways as you can think of — either fresh or cooked, these leafy greens are great for you. Pack your sandwiches with them, add them to quesadillas, quiches or even transform them into light and delicious spreads to top your bread with (like a veggie-pesto) instead of morning jam.

Another idea for snacks is to bake them into chips. Kale can be especially good for this, just add your favourite spices. Pack them into your lunchbox for that mid-evening craving to dip into hummus or yogurt dip. One of my favourite things to do is use them as wraps or ‘tortillas’ and fill the leaves with any vegetables or stuffings you have on hand.

Dark green leafy vegetables are full of antioxidants, minerals, fibre and bio-compounds that protect you against many diseases and free radicals that can oxidize your body. Kale for instance, is rich in calcium, vitamin k (great for blood clotting), vitamin C and A (great antioxidants for the immune system).

Change It Up!

Include these types of foods into your balanced diet to increase your chances of preventing cancer. Sometimes it’s just about daring to try new foods or replace harmful foods for other that can change your health. Try experimenting to find the combinations you like the most. Do you have any other ideas of how to best include these types of foods into your diet?

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