Top Cancer Fighting Foods To Include In Your Diet
Right Bite Dietitian Danya Nasser explains how nutrition can be a great prevention measure for harmful illnesses.
Free radical damage and oxidative stress from inflammation are known to be the root cause of cancer initiation. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to increased body weight, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption or poor nutrition. The good news is, all these are considered as modifiable risk factors. Furthermore, studies have been showing lower cancer rates in people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables, which shed a light on the importance of eating right for cancer prevention.
Below are the top essential foods to include in your healthy diet to help prevent cancer and keep other diseases at bay:
- Green leafy vegetables From kale, to collard greens, watercress and arugula, these greens should be the cornerstone of your salad. Greens are exceptionally rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are known for their cancer fighting properties.
- Matcha green tea Research has shown that green tea consumption can reduce the risk of cancer. Being sold as powder, you can add up a teaspoon of matcha to your smoothie or breakfast bowls.
- Cruciferous vegetables Vegetables such as broccoli and brussel sprouts are rich in phytochemicals, which are linked to cancer prevention because of their powerful anti-oxidant properties. Include them in your veggie roasts, soups, or even as crudités with hummus or low-fat labneh dip.
- Berries Their high anti-oxidant power is the reason why we all know how beneficial they are. Less common berries such as goji berries also help in increasing the immunity because of their richness in Vitamin C. Top your morning yogurt, oats and smoothies with strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for that additional nutritious boost!
- Bright orange fruits and veggies There’s a reason why we’re always told to eat the rainbow. Highly-pigmented foods such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, beets and squash contain carotenoids, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and for fighting cancer.
- Fresh herbs and spices Turmeric, which contains the active ingredient curcumin, has been shown to decrease tumor size and fight colon and breast cancer. Additionally, there are other herbs that act as immune system boosters, including ginger, raw garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil and parsley — all of which can be easily be used in many recipes, juices, dressings and smoothies.
- Nuts and seeds Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds contain some good amount of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Add them up to yogurt and breakfast smoothies!
- Salmon Omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon have powerful ant-inflammatory properties and therefore recent studies have connected them to cancer prevention and natural enhancement of antitumor therapies.
Over and above, it is important to remember that a nutritious diet combined with an active lifestyle is the base for preventing diseases. For instance, the over consumption of simple sugars such as cakes, bakery items, candies might put us at risk of developing harmful illnesses. While a good diet doesn’t assure us of being fully cured from cancer, one can take preventative measures by following a balanced and nutritious diet, free from any additives and preservatives.
Author: Danya Nasser, Right Bite Dietitian