Anyone whose life has been touched by cancer knows how hard it can be. A close family member was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. I could see the anguish in how her family handled it. You can’t help but ask the “What if” questions. “What if we knew about this sooner?” “What if we did this more and this less?”
“What If We Did Something To Prevent It?”
Current clinical cancer treatments are riddled with negative effects from radiation. Even cancer screenings and other detection methods leave the cells of the body with irreparable damage. The fact of the matter is that detection and treatment are nowhere near as efficient as preventing cancer altogether.
There are plenty of preventative measures you can take against certain cancers like exercising. Did you know that about one-third of cancer deaths are caused by inactive lifestyles? Being healthy overall is a great way to prevent cancer, and a big part of that is what you eat. In this guide to preventing and treating cancer, we’ll go through the top 10 phytonutrients that fight cancer stem cells without harming the rest of your body.
While there are many phytonutrients available that have anticancer effects, according to a recent study these ones are the most accessible and most effective ones:
Found in grapes (and by extension, wine!), berries and peanuts, resveratrol is an antioxidant phytochemical that has cancer preventative properties. You may know it better as the compound that makes a glass of red wine daily good for your heart’s health!
This flavonoid is found in a number of green vegetables (like lettuce, spinach, artichoke and Brussel sprouts), peppers (both hot and sweet), and herbs (like parsley, basil, and rosemary). A study looking at luteolin for cancer prevention and therapy found that luteolin is effective at treating inflammation, inhibiting the spread of cancer cells, and weakening cancer cells.
Curcumin is the active ingredient that gives turmeric its superfood status. Numerous studies have looked at the effect curcumin has on cancer. Read this article to find out about turmeric in depth.
This phytochemical derived from black pepper actually goes hand-in-hand with curcumin. It’s often recommended that you take black pepper with turmeric to improve the absorption of turmeric’s health benefits. On its own, research has found that piperine is a good way to prevent and treat certain cancers. One study published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis found that piperine inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells.
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Beta-carotene is the chemical which gives certain vegetables and fruits a rich yellow-orange color. Beta-carotene rich foods include paprika, sweet potato, and carrots. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A. As an antioxidant, beta-carotene works to protect your body against damage from cancer-causing free radicals. Try this baked sweet potato fries recipe featuring paprika!
Sulforaphane is an anti-cancer compound which mainly occurs in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts. Due to its ability to reach the prostate within hours of ingestion, sulforaphane is great at treating and preventing prostate cancer.
Lycopene is a compound that gives certain fruits and vegetables a vibrant red color. These include tomatoes and guava. Like beta-carotene, its antioxidant properties are its foremost cancer-fighting mechanism. Studies have found that lycopene is effective at preventing and treating lung, prostate, and stomach cancers. To get the most out of tomato’s natural lycopene, make it into tomato paste! It’s been found that there is ten times more lycopene in tomato paste than fresh tomatoes.
8. Pomegranate Extract
Pomegranate extract is a potent anti-inflammatory which makes it suitable against colon cancer and breast cancer. Preliminary studies suggest that pomegranate extract may also be effective against leukemia.
One of the phytochemicals found in soy, red clover and coffee, genistein has been instrumental in the reduction of breast cancer and prostate cancer in Asian countries where soy features largely in the average diet. A study published in the journal Cancer Letters found that genistein displays antitumor activity that allow it to slow the growth of cancer cells.
10. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC)
ECGC is an extract unique to green tea. Its antioxidant activity is what makes ECGC an effective part of any cancer-preventing diet. Additionally, this green tea extract has been shown inhibit tumor cells as well as boost detoxing enzymes to prevent tumor development. Drink green tea regularly to get your daily dose of cancer preventing ECGC!
Incorporate a few of these phytonutrients in your diet and you will be well on your way to a cancer-free life!
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