In the United States, cancer is now second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death, claiming more than 500,000 lives per year.
But did you know that cancer is actually a modern, man-made disease? Poor diets, lack of physical activity and sun exposure, and toxins polluting our environment and foods have all contributed to the steep rise in cancer.
In ancient times, however, cancer was extremely rare. Scientists have studied the remains of ancient Egyptian mummies and found the disease to be nearly non-existent!
It’s easy to feel discouraged when it seems like almost every day we hear news about something which causes cancer. But on the bright side, researchers are finding certain foods to be useful in protecting you from cancer, and even fighting cancer growth and spread.
The best way to protect yourself from cancer is by consuming a healthy, nourishing diet. Try to include as many of these remarkable foods in your diet as possible every day.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce contain substances which limit the growth of some kinds of cancer cells.
Belonging to the same family as ginger, turmeric is a bright yellow spice often used in Asian cooking. It is a powerful healer, fighting inflammation, depression, diabetes, arthritis, and bowel disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can inhibit some kinds of cancer cells and slow the spread of cancer.
Studies have shown that curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread.
Tip: For a recipe with turmeric, try this delicious Moroccan Stew.
Research is showing that ginger is able to directly kill cancer cells, by triggering the cells to digest themselves. This has shown to be especially promising against ovarian cancer cells.
Tip: In this article you’ll find a recipe for a delicious and soothing cancer-fighting tea, using both turmeric and ginger.
Tip: Try this refreshing Pear and Pomegranate Salad.
Nuts and Seeds
Studies have shown that people who eat at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day are less likely to die from cancer.
Tip: Sprinkle nuts and seeds over yogurt or salad for a nutritional boost.
Berries contain particularly powerful antioxidants, meaning they can stop a naturally occurring process in the body that can damage your cells. They may also help keep cancers from growing or spreading.
Tip: Add berries to yogurt or smoothies for a naturally sweet treat.
Pumpkin (and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables) contain nutrients which support the immune system, detoxify the body, fight cancers, and protect the skin, eyes and organs. Studies have shown that pumpkin inhibits prostate, breast and colon cancer cells.
Tip: For recipes with pumpkin, check these out:
Mushrooms can improve the functioning of your immune system. They also aid in cell regeneration.
Several large studies have found that those who eat more garlic are less likely to develop various kinds of cancer, especially in digestive organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and colon.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, all contain cancer-fighting properties. They protect you from chemicals which cause cancer, slow the growth of tumors, and cause cancer cells to die.
And don’t forget Vitamin D!
Research suggests that optimizing your level of vitamin D prevents cancer and limits the growth of cancerous cells.
Tip: Read more here about the importance of Vitamin D.
Foods to Avoid in the Fight Against Cancer
Inflammation is at the root of cancer formation. The following foods can increase inflammation in your body and therefore your risk of getting cancer.
- Processed foods that contain antibiotics, chemicals or toxins.
- Refined carbohydrates: such as white bread, white pasta, crackers and biscuits.
- Sugar: read more here about the harmful effects of sugar.
- Refined oils: read more here about healthy fats and which oils to avoid.