OK, let’s cut to the chase. First in the order of J. Robert Hatherill’s Eat to Beat Cancer is Eat, so if we are going to talk about preventing cervical cancer, we might as well start at the beginning with eating. And just not how much to eat, but the best foods you can eat to maximize your body’s resistance to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the leading culprit in cervical cancer.

Eating healthy is no doubt essential for good health, but according to the American Cancer Society a woman’s risk of contracting cancer can be reduced by eating a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Of course there is a biological reason to this—the antioxidants that are naturally present in certain types of foods can slow or stop the process that causes cancerous cells to mutate or metastasize in the body. So here are five of the best foods to eat and the nutritional reasons why.

1. Carrots

Carrots cut in Julienne

Carrots are not just for the eyes: they contain both beta-carotene and carotenoids (a coincidence?) that directly defend against absorbing carcinogens into the body’s cells. You can eat them raw, cook them in a stew, or include them as part of a salad, this vegetable is very versatile and inexpensive.

2. Green Tea

Cup of green tea

Green Tea is a popular alternative drink that is also well known for its numerous health benefits in general. One of the reasons is the presence of those antioxidants—green tea contains polyphenols that is a specific type of antioxidant—which help prevent the division and multiplication of cancer cells. It can be consumed any time of the day, so just make sure you have enough of it in the house.

3. Beans

Green beans vegetables

Beans can be everyone’s favorite food if prepared properly and taken in moderation with other cancer prevention foods. The advantages? They are cheap, high in fiber, and high in protein, making them wonderfully healthy in general and superior in preventing damage to our cells. Here is another chemical term—phytochemicals—which is a component in beans and thought to slow tumor growth. These phytochemicals protect healthy cells from being changed into cancerous cells. It is a good way to save money as well, by replacing a daily portion of red meat with beans.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce - leafy green veggies

Can we agree if lettuce is on the list, it is not the most exciting food? But lettuce, along with other types of leafy green veggies contain flavonoids, considered by many to be a leading source of nutrients that afford a degree of protection against cancers. Now eating lettuce has become more than a weight management food.

5. Whole Wheat Bread

whole wheat breads

Whole wheat bread fills in the missing carb count. This food is included because carbohydrates are just as necessary as the fruits and vegetables, and contains vitamin B6. This vitamin is necessary to regulate the body’s immune system, maintain red blood cell metabolism, and promote the health of the nervous system. Make sure you avoid getting anything but 100 percent whole wheat; enriched wheat flour has had most of the important nutrient bleached and processed out of it, leaving it without much benefit to your health.

Finally, a caution is in order here: some of the cancer-preventing nutrients found in the list of foods can be obtained in health foods stores in the form of a dietary supplement. Until you do a thorough investigation, do not substitute supplements for the actual foods as too much of a good thing can become toxic to your body. Besides, you will miss out on all the fun of eating some of your favorite foods. Eat hearty and stay healthy!

Here’s a list of some of its amazing benefits — benefits that you may not have been aware of. 11 Benefits of Green Tea That You Didn’t Know About

Featured photo credit: KellyKvia Flickr

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