The Cancer-Fighting Diet
These five superfoods have been shown to have protective benefits against the potentially deadly disease
By Jillian Finker, ND
Our diet provides a foundation for our health. Foods can either support and nourish the body or possibly cause it harm. That’s important in light of the extremely high incidence of cancer; one person out of three will have some form of it in their lifetime.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to help prevent cancer. Eating foods with proven cancer-fighting benefits can potentially be life-saving, especially if they are organic and therefore higher in vitamins and minerals. Vegetable-heavy diets also have been shown to fight off cancer. Thus it’s important to include the following foods in our daily diet.
1. Organic Green Tea
One of the best-studied foods for decreasing cancer risk is actually a drink. Green tea has been used for thousands of years and has many cancer-fighting properties. It contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. It’s been proven to protect against bladder cancer, breast cancer, and even skin cancer. Research has shown that the chances of developing a breast cancer tumor drop by around 37 percent in women under 50 who drink at last three cups of green tea a day. Other studies have shown that women of all ages would benefit from drinking eight cups of green tea daily to prevent breast cancer. Green tea also modulates blood sugar levels. High blood sugar has been linked with increased cancer risk.
2. Organic Blueberries
Eating a cup of wild blueberries every day is a tasty way to help ward off cancer. The antioxidants in blueberries, called anthocyanins, have been shown to prevent cancer and specifically to reduce colon cancer risk. Several studies have demonstrated that blueberries decrease the risk of cancer metastasizing. Because blueberries are low on the glycemic index, they usually don’t increase blood sugar levels as other fruits can.
Many mushrooms contain compounds that help the body fight cancer. Shitake, maitake, reishi, and even inexpensive button mushrooms all have immune-boosting properties that help prevent cancer. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to inhibit the growth of malignant tumors, while maitake mushrooms may help lower blood sugar, thus reducing cancer risk. Because mushrooms can be high in pesticides, it’s best to eat organic ones.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, etc.) have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. They contain certain phytonutrients—indole-3-carbinol (I3C), specifically found in cruciferous vegetables, and one of its breakdown products, diindolylmethane (DIM)—that help convert bad estrogen over to good estrogen. Research has shown that I3C is very effective in fighting breast cancer cells by blocking tumor growth and that both I3C and DIM may potentially even help cure cancer.
Garlic contains a powerful phytonutrient that’s been shown to protect the body against cancer and, in certain studies, even kill tumor cells. Garlic can have a powerful antioxidant effect: it helps protect the body against damaging free radicals, which can cause cancer. Studies have found that high consumption of raw or cooked garlic decreases the risk of colon and stomach cancers by up to 50 percent.
While there are many other cancer-fighting foods that aren’t listed here, adding these five superfoods to your daily diet, along with a lot of organic vegetables in general, will help minimize your risk of developing cancer.
Dr. Jillian Finker is a naturopathic doctor and certified nutrition specialist and the owner of Finker Wellness, located at 2308 Bellmore Ave., Bellmore, NY. For appointments and information, call 516-765-3272 or visit DrFinker.com.