Self, Health And Wellness

7 Foods That Turn Your Body Into A Cancer-Fighting Machine

Photo: weheartit
cancer fighters

If you have a family history of cancer or just want to lessen your cancer risk, you can take control of your health with simple lifestyle changes.

The food you choose to eat can either support your body and strengthen your immune system or wreak havoc on your cells and cause oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. It amazes me that a simple food choice can either raise or lower your risk for developing cancer. There is no one food that is a magic cure-all, but a combination of the right foods in your diet can control your cancer risk.

I’ve been running Beta Tests for my upcoming book, The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, and–as with several of my other programs — I’ve encouraged participants to keep food journals as part of their personal development experience. It’s shocking how many people make it through a day without eating anything that could be considered real food. The basis of your diet should not be processed, packaged, or canned foods.

These are nutritional death foods! Instead, you should focus on eating real whole foods every single day. This list is a good place to start–7 incredible foods that have come through multiple nutritional studies with flying colors. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes which have been linked to serious cancer-blasting benefits.

A healthy diet is a daily diet. One that focuses primarily on real food as the root of every meal. Whether you’re enjoying breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, it’s time to put down the processed crap.

It’s causing you harm.

Instead, focus on these three Food Pick Tips daily, add in the seve cancer-fighting foods listed below, and you’ll be on the way to your healthiest body ever.

There are three main things this list drives home: Eat plant-based, eat alkaline, eat for life. 

Plants contain powerful compounds that fight off disease-causing free radicals and reduce inflammation in our bodies. I recommend a diet that is 80% plant based, and filled with a variety of different plant foods.

Another reason I recommend filling up on plants? They are on the alkaline pH scale, and alkalizing foods help balance the pH of the body, which tends to get acidic if we eat too much sugar, refined carbs, and meat. Alkalinity goes hand in hand with oxygen, and cancer cells don’t like oxygen.

In order to take advantage of the cancer-fighting effects of food, these changes have to be incorporated into your lifestyle for the long run. You can’t just eat more salads for one week and then revert back to processed, refined foods. Your grocery cart should be loaded with whole, fresh foods every week. There are many ways to get your greens in- be it smoothies, salads, or stir fries, and I’m here to keep you on the right track to improving your health. Remember, how you heal anything is how you heal everything.

I call these foods the "Power Seven." They have powerful cancer-fighting properties, and you should incorporate each of them into your diet several times a week for the greatest health benefits.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is in the cruciferous vegetable family, and has high amounts of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory and cell-detox properties. Broccoli contains powerful compounds, including glucosinolates, indole-3 carbinole, and sulforaphane, that inhibit cancer growth.

One study found that sulphoraphane, a compound in broccoli, was shown to block a defective gene associated with breast cancer tumor growth. Sulforaphane boosts the body’s protective enzymes and targets cells that aid in tumor growth.

To get the best nutrients from broccoli, don’t overcook it. I steam my broccoli for 2-4 minutes and enjoy it either as a side dish or as part of my meal. You can also throw a few florets in the blender with your smoothie.

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the best dietary source of lycopene, which blocks the action of disease-causing free radicals. Cooked tomatoes release lycopene, and including cooked tomatoes in your diet lowers your risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.

Tomatoes have enzymes that protect cells from the toxic effects of carcinogenic compounds, acting as detoxifying agents.

Cooked tomatoes are fabulous in Italian food, and I add chopped fresh tomatoes to all my Italian dishes. Sautee them with garlic and olive oil, then top with freshly chopped basil for a delicious and healthy side.

3. Garlic

Not only is garlic a great flavor enhancer for food, it contains powerful phytochemicals that halt the formation of carcinogens. Eating a diet high in garlic is linked to reduced rates of colorectal and stomach cancer.

One study found that allicin, released when raw garlic is chopped, caused the destruction of colon cancer cells. It is thought that allicin also halts the activation of cancer causing substances.

I recommend letting raw, chopped garlic sit for about 15 minutes before using, thus allowing for the highest allicin levels. I use chopped garlic in salad dressing, stir fries, on baked salmon, in soups- really, as often as I can.

4. Berries

Berries, the darker the better, are packed with phytonutrients that fight cancer. Anthocyanins give berries their rich color, and have also been shown to slow the growth in malignant cells.

Berries are naturally high in vitamin C, which, among other things, protects the body from cell damage.

Don’t limit yourself by eating berries only when they’re in season. Sure, they taste amazing fresh, but you can use them all year long by either buying them bagged in your freezer section or by freezing them yourself. I use them all the time in smoothies, or with nuts and quinoa flakes for breakfast.

5. Kale

Kale truly is a superfood that is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and powerful glucosinolates that destroy cancer enzymes. Kale contains a broad range of antioxidants to support a healthy immune system, including sulforaphane and indol-3 carbinole. One study found that glucosinolates affect epigenetic mechanisms, and alter gene expression to wipe out carcinogenic cells.

Kale also contains omega-3 fatty acids, to tame inflammation, and chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer.

I toss kale into most of my smoothies, and it’s a great way to get some greens in at breakfast. I also mix kale with other greens in salad, and use it on soups, stir fries, and sautéed.

6. Black Beans

Black beans have a high antioxidant content in the skin, and antioxidants are superior for cleaning up disease-causing free radicals in the body. Black beans are also high in folate, and folate helps protect against mutations in our DNA.

Folate has been shown to reduce rates of breast, prostate, colon, and pancreatic cancer. Black beans contain saponins that inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells, as well as protease inhibitors that slow the division of cancer cells.

Black beans are a great proten substitute if you’re vegetarian or vegan, and I toss them in with salads and combine with fresh salsa when Mexican food is on the menu.

7. Cabbage

There are many different kids of cabbage- green, red, savoy- and each one has different compounds that fight cancer. Cabbage is also in the cruciferous vegetable family, and is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and glucosinolates.

Consumption of glucosinolates has been shown to reduce cancer risk, and eating cabbage protects against bladder, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.

Overcooking cabbage reduces the benefits, so make sure not to cook it for too long. Cabbage lends stir-fries a wonderful taste, and I also steam it and sprinkle with Asian vinegar. Cabbage is also the main ingredient in coleslaw, and that makes a great side as long as you use olive oil and vinegar in place of the mayo.

Download my FREE Easy-Cancer Fighting Recipes.

Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of the NYTimes Best-selling book "The All-Day Energy Diet." In his upcoming book, "The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet" (Rodale, 2015) he walks readers through a 5-day food cycling program guaranteed to double your weight. Look for it in bookstores December 2015.

This article was originally published at Yurielkaim. Reprinted with permission from the author.