Cancer is a frightening illness, and even hearing the word can be scary. Thus, it’s comforting to know that there are spices and foods that can help prevent and fight cancer. Here are some of those foods.
In addition to the specifics, there are a few wise, general rules to follow in any cancer-preventing or cancer-fighting diet.
First, variety is essential. Second, that variety needs to be plant-based, meaning the greater variety of fruits and vegetables you consume, the better. Third, the variety of plants you eat need to be whole and natural, not processed (in other words, buy a bunch of fresh, organic spinach rather than a package frozen, prepared spinach dip).
Applying these general guidelines to all the foods you buy will go a long way in promoting cancer prevention.
- Whole grains are an important source of inositol hexaphosphate, a form of B vitamin that is a cancer fighter.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain D-glucaric acid, which is an anti-cancer phytochemical. (“Phytochemical” refers to any chemical component found in plants.)
- Berries protect DNA from damage; the multiplication of cells with damaged DNA is how cancer forms.
- Cherries, particularly tart ones, contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins.
- Garlic and onions have sulfides, immune-enhancers and cancer-fighters. Be sure to crush or chop garlic before consuming; this treatment enhances the cancer-fighting properties.
- Bell peppers have cancer-fighting capsaicin and vitamin C, an antioxidant.
- Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
- Red clover can be used in salads, and is a good anti-cancer food.
- Citrus fruits contain the anti-cancer compound limonene.
- Raw almonds have laetrile, which is anti-cancer, and calcium, which is also implicated in cancer prevention. (Note – dairy products are not a good source of calcium for those on an anti-cancer diet.)
- Brazil nuts contain selenium; low levels of this substance are associated with increased cancer risk.
- Mushrooms, specifically shitake, reishi, and maitake enhance the immune system and help the body fight cancer cells.
- Beans and lentils have inositol hexaphosphate, the same form of B vitamin found in whole grains. Serve up the beans and whole grain brown rice! And add liberal amounts of some of the following spices.
- Remember the song about “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme“? That combination of herbs makes an excellent anti-cancer blend. All four of these flavor-enhancers have anti-cancer properties. Rosemary in particular is under scrutiny as a cancer therapy due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
- Cumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Cayenne pepper has more of anti-cancer capsaicin than bell peppers.
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory.
- Ginger is a pungent anti-inflammatory spice.
Bear in mind, too, that the National Institutes in Health (NIH) recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Here’s where a blender can come in very handy – you can toss in five different fruits and veggies, add some filtered water, and create a healthful drink.