The repercussions of cancer have touched the lives of millions. For those who are at risk or have already been diagnosed, there is a feeling of helplessness.
“What can I do about this? How can I protect myself?”
While there is no simple answer and an integrated approach is required, researchers have discovered seven foods with the capabilities to inhibit cancer naturally. They are commodities you probably already have in your kitchen and by incorporating them more into your meals, you are helping your body prevent and fight cancer as well.
What is Cancer?
A critical role in cancer is angiogenesis, which is the process to create new blood cells. This process is controlled by chemical signals in the body. The signals prompt the repair of damaged blood vessels and the productions of new blood vessels. The chemical signals that foil this process are called angiogenesis inhibitors. In a healthy body, the productions and the inhibiting effects of these two chemical signals are balanced, causing the blood vessels to form only as needed. (1)
Tumors need a blood supply to grow, so it stimulates the signal for angiogenesis. This blood vessel production feeds the tumor the nutrients and oxygen it needs to metastasize, spreading through the body. (2)
Why Would These Foods Help?
The following seven foods are natural angiogenesis inhibitors, called antiangiogenic agents. They interfere with the process of metastasizing, blocking the formation of new blood vessels that are supporting the tumor, thus starving it. Scientists claim that this can prevent, slow, or even stop cancer. (3)
The 7 Foods:
The polyphenol catechins in this tea contain chemopreventive and antiangiogenic abilities, in addition to being a potent antioxidant. Studies have shown drinking 2-3 cups of green tea (found here) a day inhibited the stimulated angiogenic signals by 70%, and reduced the tumor cell invasion by 50%. (4)
Resveratrol is a natural phytoalexin (which plants use to inhibit parasites) and polyphenol (which acts as an antioxidant) (5). Therefore, resveratrol inhibits angiogenesis. (6) Consult your pharmacist when purchasing these supplements to ensure the dose is correct for your height and weight to achieve full potency. (7)
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Lycopene is the natural pigment in tomatoes that gives them their bright red color. It is also an angiogenesis inhibitor. In a study that included over 51, 000 men found there was a 23% risk reduction for those who had two servings of tomato sauce a week. (8)
Turmeric has a chemopreventive and antiangiogenic ability, and it inhibits carcinogenesis in stomach, liver, skin, and intestines. In one research, the subjects who consumed 4 g/day of turmeric had a 40% reduction in the number of premalignant markers in cancer. (9)
A study from Rutger University proves that a 1 ½ cups of blueberries per day can reduce the rate of pre-cancerous lesions by 57%. This is due to the antioxidant in these miraculous berries called pterostilbene. (10)
Molecules in curry have been found to kill cells in esophagus and bowel cancer. (11) They attack the cancer cells within 24 hours of the curry being consumed. (12) Scientists are researching this spice more in-depth as a potential cancer cure. (13) It would be beneficial for you to incorporate it into your cooking, or consider taking it as a supplement.
The flavanol ingredient in cacao beans is an antioxidant that reduces damage done to cells. Cancer is developed from such damaged cells. (14) Cacao is filled with potent antioxidant flavonols, proanthocyanidins, and polyphenols, all of which help to slow the growth of cancer cells. (15) Add it to smoothies or healthy baked goods for a cancer-fighting dessert.
Phellinus linteus (aka “black hoof”) is a medicinal mushroom native to East Asia (Japan, China, and Korea). Scientists have compared its anti angiogenesis and antioxidant properties to vitamin C, a known powerful scavenger of free radicals. A 2003 study showed an extract of phellinus linteus had significant anti-tumor effects. Black hoof extracts can be purchased in powder or oil form.
Another medicinal mushroom, ganoderma (aka lingzi mushroom), long used in traditional Chinese medicine, has also been found to show promising anti-cancer properties. This 2003 scientific review summarizes key findings in cancer prevention, enhanced immune function, and and anti-tumor activity. This mushroom also improves health when taken alongside other cancer medications. This mushroom is not safe to use if you have an autoimmune disease.
(1) (2) (3) National Cancer Institute (October 7, 2011) http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/angiogenesis-inhibitors-fact-sheet
(4) (6) (8) (9) William W. Li, Vincent W. Li, Michelle Hutnik, and Albert S. Chiou (4 July 2011) http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jo/2012/879623/
(5) (6/14/2012) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=16619
(7) Subhendu Mukherjee, Joceylyn I. Dudley, and Dipak K. Das. (Mar 18, 2010) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990065/
(11) (7 May 2012) http://www.bbc.com/news/health-17959521
(13) Jayaraj Ravindran, Sahdeo Prasad, Bharat B. Aggarwal (July 10 2009) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1208/s12248-009-9128-x
(14) Becky Slemons (February 10, 2016) http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/features/can-chocolate-be-good-for-you
(15) Susan Silberstein (2014) http://www.healthyfoodteam.com/cancer-dies-eat-7-foods-start-eating-immediately/
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