When we talk about prevention of cancer there is nothing more powerful than what you eat. Here are some of the ways to cut your cancer risk, based on recent studies.
Say “yes” to onions, apples, berries, kale, and broccoli.
Eating lots of antioxidants called flavonols – found in these foods – cut pancreatic cancer risk by 23 percent. Among smokers, a flavonol-rich diet lowered risk by 59 percent, report researchers from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii who studied 183,518 women and men.
Apples are packed with another antioxidant called quercetin, which is shown to reduce the risk of numerous cancers, particularly lung cancer. One study of more than 77,000 women found just one apple a day reduced risk of lung cancer by 21 percent, regardless of smoking status. Meanwhile, experiments in the laboratory showed that quercetin prevents lung cancer cells from multiplying.
Black raspberries, seeds and all, have 40 percent more antioxidants than blueberries and strawberries so reach for these when you can!
Cruciferous vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and even cabbage-based dishes like sauerkraut and coleslaw. Men who ate three of more ½ cup servings of these vegetables a week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 41 percent, compared to men who ate less in one major study. Steam the vegetables slightly and drizzle on a little olive oil to get the most benefits.
Garlic and onions, two flavoring vegetables, are jammed with cancer-destroying chemicals. Get 16 servings a week of onions (1/2 cup raw, chopped onion equals one serving) and 22 servings a week of garlic (one clove equals one serving) and your risk of oral, esophageal, colorectal, laryngeal, ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers drops dramatically. The protective effect from both vegetables stem from the same compounds that give each their distinctive odors which is called organosulfur compounds. These compounds do many things; they influence enzymes that activate and detoxify carcinogens; they prevent DNA from bonding to cancer-causing substances; they are great at scavenging up free radicals in your bloodstream; and they support the immune system, among other benefits. One hint: Either use garlic raw or let it sit for 10 minutes after chopping; otherwise, heat destroys the cancer-protecting enzymes.
Go to the limit with fruits and vegetables
Study participants who got 12 produce servings per day lowered their risk of various cancers by 29 percent as compared to women and men who ate only 3 servings, a recent study of 500,000 women and men age 50 and older has found. Merely adding 1 to 2 produce servings a day could lower your risk by 6 percent.
Choose red wine.
Red-wine drinker cut their risk of colorectal cancer by 68 percent in a recent study from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In contrast, white-wine aficionados did not. Researchers suspect that an antioxidant in red wines called resveratrol may offer powerful protection against colon cancer.
Have fish more often.
Men who ate fish five times a week or more had a 40 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those who ate fish less than once a week, say Harvard Medical School researchers who have tracked the health of 22,071 men.
The next time you go to the grocery store make sure you spend most of your time in the produce department and pick up as many of these cancer fighting foods as you can eat!
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