Cancer is a type of disease characterized by cell growth that goes out-of-control. There are over 100 different types of cancers, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected by it.
According to a premier medical research body, India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020 with cancers of breast, lung and cervix topping the list.
Cancer begins to harm the body when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumours. These tumours can grow and mess with the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems thereby releasing hormones that alter the body function. Tumours that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign (not harmful in effect).
Let’s take a look at how these cancer fighting foods help keep the deadly disease at bay.
Green tea: Tea is the best source of catechins in our diet, and green tea contains about three times the catechins found in black tea. Green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells.
Blackberries: These juicy purple berries are of the native Indian origin, also known as Jamun or jambolan. Jamun is a good source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Researchers have found that Jamun fights against breast cancer cells. The fruit also has key nutrients that can reduce the risk of a stroke, prevent blood clots, and more.
Blueberries: Blueberries are believed to be an excellent source of Vitamins C and K, manganese and dietary fibre. They have the highest antioxidants content due to its many phytochemicals.
Lemon: Is known to be oozing with Vitamin C found in its juice, which is well known alternative for cancer treatment. Lemon peel also offers many health benefits. One of the most important being that lemon peel can help eradicate toxins in your body.
Apple: The fruit is known to have many disease-fighting benefits has various antioxidants of which one antioxidant called procyanidins. This triggers a series of cell signals that kills cancer cells.
Ginger: Fresh, raw ginger has a number of important benefits that help fight cancer. It is an amazing anti-inflammatory agent that reduces the effects of COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain. Its consumption benefits the body especially the gut, reducing rates of cancer spread. It is believed to lower blood sugar levels and gingerols have effects against prostate, breast, leukaemia and other cancer cells.
Turmeric: It is a spice that is regularly used in Indian cooking. It has been used for many years in herbal remedies. The active ingredient curcumin or diferuloyl methane in turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It is believed to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing further. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a natural food preservative known for its anti-tumour abilities. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce risk factors of heart disease among other health benefits. Cinnamon is a rich source of iron and calcium. It blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body and is believed to reduce tumour growth.
Garlic: Active ingredients like allicin, an organosulfur compound obtained from garlic are believed to stop the spread of cancer in a number of ways, for example by stopping blood supply formation for tumours. Garlic kills microbes and yeasts that are produced after taking drugs and antibiotics. Garlic is also anti-inflammatory and contains selenium and sulphur-based agents that attack cancer cells.
Tomato: Research has found that eating tomatoes helps protect men from prostate cancer. The juicy red tomatoes can help guard the DNA in your cells from damage that can lead to cancer. They contain a high concentration of an effective antioxidant called lycopene which helps fight cancer.
Olive Oil: According to a recent research when a compound called oleocanthal found only in olive oil was added to test it wiped out the cancer cells in less than an hour. And it was seen that it didn’t harm the healthy cells. Eating a healthy diet with olive oil as the main source of fat could considerably lower cancer incidence.
Pomegranate: Pomegranate is a rich source of antioxidants. Six chemicals in the fruit are believed to supress aromatase – a substance in the body that helps produce estrogen essential for cancer to grow in most conditions, thus proving that pomegranate is vital for blocking breast cancer. It is also believed to fight colon cancer and diabetes.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Leafy greens are exceptionally rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes and also low in calories, fats, sodium and other toxins. Leafy greens of all kinds — nutritious spinach, kale, mint leaves and others are rich in antioxidants known to combat cancer.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower, a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that believed to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing the tumour growth. It is also believed that if you consume cauliflower and turmeric, you can prevent or eradicate prostate cancer completely.
Avocado: Avocatin B, a type of fat found in avocados, is believed to combat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a rare and deadly form of cancer. Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in avocados inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, head and neck (oral) cancers.
Nuts and Seeds: Seeds are full of good oils, whole vitamins in natural form and fibre that strengthen your gut flora. Pumpkin seeds can be mixed with sunflower seeds and consumed to fight cancer cell growth and protect immune cells from free radicals. Both sesame and flax seeds are converted to compounds that can arrest oestrogen cancers.
Brazil nuts give you selenium which is a potent anti-cancer agent. Walnuts and almonds are helpful additions to your diet because they contain good oils and high natural fibre.
Broccoli: Broccoli contains fibre which helps eliminate toxins. Moreover, the fibre is rich in galactose, which binds to damaging agents in the intestine. Broccoli also contains indole3carbinol which, with its metabolite DIM, modifies and diminishes aggressive oestrogen action. It can modify cellular oestrogen and aids in fighting oestrogen-driven cancers like breast, prostate, brain and colorectal cancers.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are believed to boost the immune system and also fight cancer. Even the button mushroom has cancer fighting ingredients. It is mainly used to prevent cancer and is believed to have antiviral and tumour shrinking abilities.
Cabbage: Cabbage has powerful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and phytonutrients, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes that are believed to protect the body against breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Flax seeds: Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is an ideal source of dietary fibre, omega 3 fat, and lignan. It is the richest source of lignan levels that are 100-800 times higher than any plant source. Lignan has been shown to reduce the size of cancerous tumours in rats and mice, and has been used with success in treating both breast and prostate cancer in humans.
Kale: Kale a part of the cruciferous vegetable family contains many antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C, E, and K. It has Vitamin A which is great for your vision, skin as well as to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
Ginseng: Ginseng has a compound called ginsenosides which is believed to fight cancer. Studies have shown that cancer cells are erased in several types including breast, ovarian, cervical, and prostate cancers and lung cancers when this compound is used.
Artichokes: Artichoke has a range of minerals, nutrients and phytochemicals that can help support liver and prevent cancer. A flavonoid in artichoke called silymarin is believed to be a skin cancer chemo preventive or anticarcinogenic agent.
Studies suggest that all kinds of cancer can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and dietary measures. Including a healing diet, vegetable juices, probiotic foods, consuming immune-boosting supplements among others can help in this healing process. So, make it a point to include some or most of these foods in your daily diet.