Fuel is important and our choices in fuel are equally so. We put high-test in our cars, buy organic milk for our children and we obsess about our coffee! If we’re willing to go to these lengths, why not be more discerning about how we nourish ourselves? In plain terms our bodies, and the immune systems they contain, are engines and fueling them correctly is a necessary preamble to fending off a cancer diagnosis. What many fail to recognize is that most cancers function like engines as well. This means that the “fuel” we put in our bodies ultimately determines whether we’re fueling one engine or the other.
Since we know that inflammation and the biochemical balance of our bodies is key to allowing cancer cells to proliferate and grow, one core focus of our food choices needs to be avoiding foods which cause inflammation or alter our balance in such as a manner as to fuel cancer growth. Experts estimate that 30 to 40% of cancer can be staved off by a healthy lifestyle and eating, so integrating these foods into our diet is critical.
Here are 4 categories of cancer-beating foods worth getting to know!
EAT YOUR GREENS!
When it comes to kicking cancer to the curb, eating your leafy and dark greens is the way to go! The buzz word around cancer and nutrition is cruciferous vegetables! Okay that doesn’t sound like fun, but eating these leafy and dark greens is proven to create the right processes in body to make it an inhospitable place for cancer to grow. Cruciferous veggies contain glucosinolates along with antibacterial and antiviral properties, all well-known to inactivate carcinogens. They are rich in glutathione, known as the body’s “master antioxidant” since it is most lethal to free radicals. Better still, the presence of these in our bodies can actually encourage cancer cells to die. The potent chemicals in leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are processed by our bodies into active compounds (indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates) which inhibit cancer cell growth.
What to eat: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, artichokes, zucchini, onions & asparagus
On the go: Juicing vegetables is a great way to enjoy some their best benefits!
Yum: Hummus or Greek yogurts are great on the fly for a healthy cancer fighting snack.
BRING ON THE BERRIES
Is there anything better than a heaping bowl full of fresh sweet berries? The antioxidants in Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Raspberries are part of the powerhouse knock-out punch that will eliminate free radicals and help make your body a no-cancer zone. Along with the Vitamin C, Fiber, Folate, Vitamin A and Ellagic Acid they contribute, berries are positively delicious. Blueberries and Blackberries bring the most potent antioxidants along with other vitamins and minerals that really pack a punch! Raspberries derive their color from flavonoids that generally promote health and contain Ellagic acid which is currently being studied for its anti-estrogen properties and is great for helping prevent breast cancer. Strawberries provide folic acid and Vitamin C, great for beating the odds against esophageal cancer! For more on berries click here!
What to eat: Eat all the berries! Can’t get them fresh? Your local mega-mart likely has them all frozen!
On the go: Blend them into smoothies. Add them to Greek yogurt for an extra cancer fighting boost!
For kids: Add them to cereals for sweetness instead of sugary alternatives.
ORANGE TO THE RESCUE!
If it’s orange it’s for fighting cancer! No, sorry, cheesy puffs do not qualify. We’re talking carotenoids! This is the family that beta keratin comes from and it is one more super accessible easily edible super detoxifier and free-radical beater that our bodies need to fight off a cancer diagnosis. Though rich in carbohydrates (a word much maligned) studies are proving that the right complex carbs reduce the risk of digestive tract cancers. The rationale is that these foods contain lots of fiber which facilitates the expulsion of the toxins from our systems. Say it with me folks, “Carbs are good!”…well orange carbs anyway.
What to eat: Think orange and carbs! Carrots, sweet potato, yams, beets & butternut squash!
Did you know: whole grain foods are awesome fiber-rich toxin-cleansing carbs.
Yum: Think about it…who doesn’t want carrot sticks and hummus?!
Don’t be Chicken of Liver
Yet when it comes to a prevention mindset, the best choice may leave you feeling a bit intimidated, if not queasy. It’s time to talk about chicken and beef liver; along with other organic meats, liver is nutrient dense and, as a bonus, chock full of selenium, B12 and zinc which cleanse the blood and balance the hormones in our bodies. Hormone driven cancers have no chance against these organ meats. Be a little brave!
What to eat: Chicken and beef liver preferably fresh from an organic market.
Treat yourself: Making paté is easy! If you have a food processor its easy to
pair these livers with herbs and our cancer fighting veggies for a sublime morsel of
cancer cancelling gourmet. See here for more proof, and here for a great recipe.
Step out of your comfort-food zone
Try new things. It’s a great way to see how you can work these great cancer beaters into a lifestyle that fits you! Start simple with juices or smoothies? Click here to see a list of great recipes that integrate our cancer fighting foods! To your good health!