Cancer Fighting Superstars..
If you've been following my blog, it's probably no surprise to you that minimizing meat and dairy and opting for plant-based foods reduces your risk for all types of chronic disease, including The Big C (cancer). Even among plants, not all foods are created equal. In fact there are 6 superstars you can increase in your diet to reduce your cancer risk. You get to eat AND prevent cancer simultaneously. Win-win. Read on and get eating.
- Greens. This includes leafy greens and other green vegetables, especially in the cruciferous family. Greens are the most nutrient dense foods (with the exception of iceberg lettuce) and can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Beneficial chemical reactions when you chew and digest greens work to remove carcinogens (cancer causing compounds), reduce inflammation, neutralize oxidative stress, inhibit angiogenesis (the process by which tumors acquire a blood supply), and kill cancer cells. Load up on kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts and bok choy for potent anti-cancer fighting effects. Try one of my favorite simple greens recipes.
- Beans. Beans Beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you....fight cancer! Beans(a.k.a legumes) are the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source and are also packed with colon cancer fighting fiber. Studies have shown that intake of beans, peas or lentils at least twice a week can decrease colon cancer risk by 50%. Legume intake also provides protection against oral, larynx, pharynx, stomach, and kidney cancers. Go beyond black beans and experiment with different types of beans like edamame (yes, that is a bean too!), kidney beans, chickpeas and tempeh (fermented soy beans). Try my Mediterranean Veggie Burger recipe.
- Onions. Have you ever heard of the Allium family of vegetables? Well onions are a member of this family along with leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions. Sure they make your breath stink, but higher consumption of Allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of gastric and prostate cancers. I'll take transient dragon breath over colon cancer any day.
- Mushrooms. Regular consumption of COOKED (not raw) mushrooms is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. In fact in a recent study done in China, women who ate the equivalent of just ONE mushroom a day reduced their breast cancer risk by a whopping 64%!! White, cremini, Portobello, oyster, shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties. Mushrooms really are magic.
- Berries. The high antioxidant count in berries reduces inflammation, prevents DNA damage, inhibits tumor angiogenesis, and stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berry consumption has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries reign supreme- shoot for at least 1 serving (1/2 cup) daily.
- Seeds. Nutritionally seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants, but seeds are also abundant in trace minerals, higher in protein than nuts, and each kind of seed is nutritionally unique. Flaxseeds and sesame seeds in particular haven been shown to have anti-cancer effects, though chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds all have great health benefits too. Pro tip: the body can't absorb the nutrients from whole flaxseeds, so buy your flax in ground form (flaxseed meal). Try out my chia seed pudding recipe.
Bottom line: definitely add these 6 items to your grocery list and eat to prevent cancer!