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Top 5 Cancer-Fighting Foods

healthy vegetables

While there is no one solution for curing cancer (since there are so many different types) most patients resort to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to eradicate abnormal cells in the body.  However, there are many courses of therapy to attack cancer head-on and prevent a recurrence.  After initial treatments, many patients undergo years of hormone therapy (to stop their bodies from producing hormones that may increase the risk of recurrence) as well as making changes in the way they live their lives.  Some opt to remove potentially harmful chemicals from their homes (cleaning solvents and even chemical shampoos) while others give up smoking, drinking, and ingesting known carcinogens like saccharine and MSG.  And many decide to change their diets.  While there are several ways to formulate a healthier way of eating, starting with switching to organic foods (those that contain no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or hormone injections), there are a few super foods that everyone can include in their diet to enhance overall health and increase the chances of avoiding cancer.

1. Cruciferous vegetables. The spectrum of vegetables that fall into the cruciferous category include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussel sprouts, all of which contain antioxidants that are known to fight cancer.  They also come packed with the sulfur compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that helps to detoxify carcinogens and cancel out the effects of certain cancer-promoting estrogens (and may enhance the effects of chemotherapy drugs).  They also contain high levels of glucosinolates that are metabolized by the body as carcinogen-fighting agents.

2. Carrots. What’s up, doc? Carrots contain beta carotene and a substance known as falcarinol, both of which have been found to be beneficial in the fight against cancer.  Beta carotene, in particular, is believed to prevent and aid in the treatment of many cancers, especially those that affect the digestive system.  And falcarinol has been shown to slow the growth of isolated cancer cells.  But to take advantage of these benefits, you will want to eat your carrots raw.

3. Tomatoes.  There’s no doubt that a Mediterranean diet is good for you, and tomatoes are a big part of it.  They contain an antioxidant called lycopene that attacks free radicals in the body, as well as a ton of vitamin C, which has long been known to help prevent cellular damage throughout the body.  And tomatoes have a number of other health benefits, to boot.

4. Red wine. If ever there was a reason to partake of your favorite merlot, chiraz, or cabernet, preventing cancer is a great one.  This is not to say that you should go hog wild with the gewürztraminer, but in moderation, it can actually have some pretty great health benefits.  This is largely because it is made from red grapes, which contain a type of antioxidant called polyphenols that help to neutralize free radicals.  But why red wine?  Because it is made with the skin of the grapes (unlike white wine) which is where the majority of the nutrients reside.  So grab a bunch of grapes, some grape juice, or your favorite glass of red to reap the many benefits of this fruit (it’s also good for your heart).

5. Flax seeds. These are quickly becoming a priority for many people who are looking to form healthier eating habits. They contain lignans, which may slow or even halt the growth of cancerous cells. In addition, they a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that can not only aid in the prevention of certain cancers, but are also heart-healthy. You can consume flax seeds directly by mixing them into granola or adding them to smoothies, or you can simply purchase flax-seed oil.

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