With the numbers of cancer patients on the rise, experts are looking at finding ways to fight cancer through alternative ways, one of which is: food. Apart from traditional therapeutic measures, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, other measures such as cancer-fighting food can also be beneficial to the patient.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has a whole list of cancer-fighting foods that should be added to the diet of both cancer patients, as well as the general population to decrease the risk of cancer.
This list includes apples, blueberries, tea, soy, squash, cranberries, carrots, cherries, grapefruits, flaxseed, legumes, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables, walnuts, garlic, grapes, coffee, and tomatoes. Not surprisingly, the entire list is rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts. This is because higher body fat increases the risk of more than ten kinds of cancer, while vegetables and fruits have a lower caloric index and are more filling.
These measures should be added to the traditional therapy, instead of being used alone to combat disease. Read on to find how diet can help you fight and prevent cancer.
Rich in a plant-based compound called polyphenols, apples have promising anti-cancer properties. Not only do polyphenols fight tumour-cells, but they are also beneficial against the inflammatory processes in the body. Moreover, they fight infections, as well as cardiovascular disorders.
The tumour-fighting property of polyphenols could be due to its inhibitory effect on glucose transporter-GLUT 2. This property is beneficial in fighting advanced-stage cancer and uncontrolled cell growth, as the cells cannot use glucose from the blood to multiply.
A study from the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis suggests that apples significantly reduce the growth of breast cancer cells without affecting the normal cells.
The antioxidant properties of berries can have significant protective effect in cancer-prone cells. One such cancer is colon cancer, according to data from a recent study. This protective effect is derived from the compound anthocyanin, which is found in high quantities in blackberries. Anthocyanins not only slow down the growth of cancer-prone, or pre-malignant cells, but it also slows down the formation of new blood vessels which enrich the tumor cells. Thus, anthocyanins are potent cancer-fighting agents.
Another fruit in the berry family which shows favourable results is blueberry. Blueberries were found to inhibit breast cancer cell growth in tumours found in mice, due to anti-inflammatory components.
Apart from the aforementioned compounds, berries are also rich in essential micronutrients and other elements, such as minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
Research from Iowa Women’s Health Study has shown that women with the highest amount of garlic intake have about 50 percent less risk of certain colon cancers, compared to women who had reduced intake. This is because garlic is rich in phytochemicals that fight the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are the components that have stomach cancer causing properties and are used as common food preservatives.
This family includes vegetables like cabbage, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. While all these are rich in cancer-fighting agents, it is broccoli that has the highest amount of beneficial components, such as sulphoraphane. Sulphoraphane fights the disease, by boosting the natural immunity of the body as well as the protective enzymes.
Moreover, it flushes out cancer causing chemicals. Additionally, recent research suggests that sulphoraphane targets the cancer stem cells that aid in growth of the tumor.
It can thus fight many types of cancers, including those of: lung, liver, prostate, skin, stomach, bladder and breast.
Despite the research that is still needed regarding tea’s anticancer properties, green tea has been found to slow and prevent certain types of cancer in laboratory studies. This beneficial effect is likely due to the antioxidants that green tea is rich in.
Not only are they delicious, but they are also the best dietary source of the compound lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives the tomato its characteristic color, and also helps fight cancer cell growth. One such type of cancer is that of the endometrial lining—the innermost layer of Uterus. Endometrial cancer causes about 8000 death per year.
Patients who are taking chemotherapy for breast cancer are susceptible to endometrial cancer due to a certain type of medicine. Such patients can benefit greatly from this food source.
Biggest benefits are derived from the cooked type of tomato, whereby the heat releases all the absorbable form of lycopene. Apart from endometrial cancer, tomatoes help fight prostate, lung and stomach cancers.
Dr. Elaine Harman, PhD, associate professor at Marshall University School of Medicine, West Virginia, states that walnuts could possibly slow the growth of breast cancer cells. Her research shows that walnuts could block the estrogen receptors in the breast cancer cells, due to the cholesterol-like compounds: phytosterol contained in them. The blockage of these receptors is also the aim of the chemotherapy medication that we give such patients.
Therefore, munching on an ounce of walnuts a day could help fight breast and prostate cancers.
Not only is it important to eat nutritious foods that can fight cancer, it is equally, if not more important to avoid unhealthy eating habits that are linked with cancer.
The latter includes eating processed and red meat, eating refined carbs, cooking oils on high heat, and eating lots of barbecued meat, etc.
Get professional help to design a healthy menu for yourself and your family; book an appointment with top nutritionists in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.