Can Food Help Protect You From Cancer?

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

There’s tons of research out there to support an enthusiastic, “yes!” I’ve written about it in my book, The Healing Kitchen

In my book, I introduce you to lots of dietary changes that can make a big difference in your health, now and later, and present the best and the most damaging of foods in relation to a variety of disorders, including cancer. It’s information you should have because each year, more than 2.5 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer, and each year more than a half-million patients die from the disease.

Cancer can be triggered by many causes, including heredity, environmental factors, and personal habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Food represents a major factor as well. Obesity alone is believed to be directly linked to 30% to 40% of all cancers.

You can’t choose your parents or change your genetic makeup, nor always avoid air pollution or chemicals in the environment. However, you can choose your diet.

When you sit down to a meal it is unlikely that you have cancer in mind. However, some of the foods you may be eating can actually fuel cancer growth. Others have an immediate neutralizing effect on cancer cells. So you obviously want to favor anti-cancer foods and stay away from pro-cancerous foods.

Tragically, the majority of Americans aren’t eating nearly enough of the protective foods.

12 Food-and-Cancer Facts You Should Know:

1.  The healthiest diets on the planet – that is, those associated with the lowest incidence of chronic illnesses – are the traditional Mediterranean and Asian diets. Because I like them both so much, I have combined their best features into what I call the Pan-Asian Mediterranean Diet or PAMM Diet.

2.  The most powerful anticancer foods may be those found in three groups of vegetables: crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage); alliums (onions and garlic); and dark green vegetables.

Try My Spicy Tofu Kebabs with Pear Relish!

3.  Cruciferous veggies strongly inhibit every type of cancer cell tested, including those of the pancreas, prostate, brain, lung, breast, skin and stomach.

4.  Eat tomatoes and broccoli at one sitting. The chemical compounds in each food attack cancer cells in different ways, so consuming them together produces an enhanced effect.

5.  Popeye was right. All leafy greens are rich in nutrients, but spinach may top the lot because it contains at least 13 different flavonoids, substances with strong anticancer effects.

Try My Green-Apple Smoothie Recipe!

6.  Don’t restrict yourself to specific vegetables. Eat a variety of them, and preferably, organic. There’s ample evidence showing anticancer action in all types of fruits and vegetables, because the vast majority contain pectin, a component of fiber. Pectin binds to a certain protein involved in many stages of cancer development and seems to inhibit its action.

Try My Strawberry-Kiwi Soup Recipe!

7.  Quite a few plant foods, especially beans, flax and sesame seeds, contain substances that the body converts into lignans, compounds that protect against estrogen-driven cancers. As an example, women with high levels of lignans in their breast tissue are less likely to develop cancer there.

Try My Lignan-Rich Bean Croquettes!

8.  Eat mushrooms. Emoki, shiitake, and maitake varieties have been found to reduce the rate of certain cancers.

9.  The curry spice turmeric, and its pigment extract curcumin, are among the most potent food-derived anti-inflammatory agents. Against cancer, turmeric and curcumin have been repeatedly documented to slow the growth of tumors and accelerate the death of cancer cells.

10.  Give up coffee and alcohol. They act as diuretics, causing water loss and possible depletion of precious minerals. Drink green tea instead, which contains plant chemicals called catechins that limit the development of blood vessels that nourish tumors.

11.  The unfortunate “Western diet”, full of refined carbohydrates, greasy chips, fast-food lunches, and calorie-packed desserts, is a major reason why cancer is a leading killer disease in America.

12.  Sugar and refined carbs break down into glucose (blood sugar) in the body. They are highly toxic, inflammatory, and lead to accumulation of inflammatory fatty tissue. Inflammation is an underlying cause of most major diseases, including cancer.

For more information, practical tips, and condition-specific recipes, I invite you to visit The Healing Kitchen.

Also be sure to visit my Healthy Recipes page!

© 2015 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.

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