Advertising
Advertising

Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

For people who are interested in promoting their health, cancer can be a big worry. It is a leading cause of death in countries all over the world and the emotional, physical, and economic cost is high. And despite many important advances in recent decades, most cancer treatment still centers around some combination of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy — and all of these treatments can carry risks.

However, the good news is that there are simple lifestyle choices that everyone can make that can reduce the cancer risk. One of these choices is a diet that contains the following anti-cancer foods.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Advertising

Crucifers are cancer-fighting foods

    Cruciferous vegetables are a family of nutritional powerhouses and include such foods as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. These are one of the best groups of cancer-fighting foods to eat if you are interested in following an anti-cancer diet.

    Why? They have sulfur-containing compounds called sulforaphanes that, in multiple laboratory studies, have been found to boost the body’s ability to fight off cancer as well as removing cancer-causing substances and specifically targeting cancer cells. Crucifers have been studied for several different types of cancer, including cancers of the liver, skin, stomach, and bladder.

    Berries

    Advertising

    barries are cancer-fighting foods

      Berries are another group of foods with proven anti-cancer properties and are frankly one of the most delicious ways to enjoy an anti-cancer diet. Members of this illustrious group — including strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and acai berries — are some of the richest sources of antioxidant compounds like anthocyanins.

      Anthocyanins are the chemicals that give berries their color, but they are also well-known for their ability to fight cancer by reducing blood flow to malignant tumors and encouraging cancer cell death. They have been tested and found effective against cancers of the esophagus, colon, and skin.

      Alliums

      Advertising

      alliums are cancer-fighting foods

        The allium family includes foods like onions, garlic, chives, and leeks and not only do they add great flavor to foods from all over the world, they also contain a compound called allicin, which also has strong anti-oxidant properties and in various clinical studies, allicin has been shown to fight cancer by preventing carcinogenic substances from harming the body and by preventing cancer cells from multiplying. Members of the allium family have been studied for their beneficial effects on cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and colon.

        Tomatoes

        tomatoes are cancer-fighting foods

          Tomatoes were brought to Europe from North America during colonization and are now found in a variety of New World and Old World cuisines. They are not only easy to add to a variety of dishes, but because of their high levels of an antioxidant compound called lycopene, they are also an important part of an anti-cancer diet. Lycopene is able to reduce oxidative stress in the cells throughout the body and prevent the cellular changes that can lead to cancer. It has shown to be beneficial with both prostate and endometrial cancer.

          Advertising

          Leafy Green Vegetables

          leafy greens are cancer-fighting foods

            Be like Popeye and love your spinach — as well as kale, Swiss chard, and other leafy green vegetables. These leafy greens are incredibly versatile, working well in salads, soups, pasta dishes and casseroles, they also will provide you with anti-cancer benefits. This is because of their unique blend of antioxidant compounds like lutein, vitamins like folate and plenty of dietary fiber. Studies have shown that diets that are rich in lycopene are related to a reduced risk of mouth and throat cancers.

            Obviously, there is no silver bullet when it comes to cancer. But studies on the cancer-fighting foods listed above are part of an increasing body of evidence that the foods you choose to eat can help to lower your risks of developing this serious disease. Their combinations of fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidant compounds appears to have real benefits that can be harnessed easily every time you walk into the produce aisle.

            More by this author

            Brian Wu

            Health Writer, Author

            Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss 7 Superfoods To Restore Energy When You’re Burnt Out

            Trending in Health

            112 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory 2How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine 38 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian 410 Amazing Health Benefits Of Beer 5Say Goodbye to a Skinny Body: How to Gain Weight Fast

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

            Advertising

            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

            Advertising

            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

            15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

            Advertising

            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

            Advertising

            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and black tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here:

            11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

            Read Next