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Cancer Fighting Foods

Mar. 17, 2014|719 views


Cancer is frightening. It’s the second-leading cause of death in much of the world. Everyone seems to know someone who has been affected by some form of the disease. The good news is treatment has come a long way. Many people who would have died in the past are now living with hope thanks to these advances.

But what about prevention? Are there effective steps you can take help protect yourself from this seemingly random illness?

I believe so. My experience, and knowledge of ongoing research, has convinced me that the lifestyle you lead can play a significant role in your risk of developing cancer. Some steps involve what NOT to do. Stop smoking. Stop sitting all day without moving. Stop eating heavily processed foods with artificial preservatives, additives, dyes, and chemicals. Say no to processed meats. Avoid bad sunburn. Avoid binge drinking (Excessive alcohol consumption increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, for instance.) 

These are things you can AVOID to reduce your risk of cancer. But there are also proactive steps you can take to improve your chances of remaining cancer free. For example, regularly eating certain foods has been linked to a reduced risk of getting certain kinds of cancer. A healthful whole-foods diet featuring plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer, for example. Natural plant fiber aids the digestive process and appears to help keep the colon healthy. 

More specifically, certain fruits and vegetables provide specific phytonutrients (plant compounds) that are believed to fight cancer on several levels. One example is quercetin; a flavonoid compound found in foods such as apples and onions. As it turns out, an apple a day really can keep the doctor away. Apples have plenty of fiber, and they’re a good source of cancer-fighting quercetin. Buy organic to avoid trace pesticides and get the highest levels of beneficial compounds. Quercetin appears to have numerous health benefits, but one of its most intriguing is its ability to nip cancer in the bud, so to speak. Check back tomorrow: This week I’ll be discussing superfoods that may offer direct protection against cancer. 

Aufderklamm S1, Miller F, Galasso A, Stenzl A, Gakis G. Chemoprevention of prostate cancer by isoflavonoids. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2014;202:101-8. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-45195-

Delgado L1, Fernandes I, González-Manzano S, de Freitas V, Mateus N, Santos-Buelga C. Anti-proliferative effects of quercetin and catechin metabolites. Food Funct. 2014 Feb 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Tags:  health tips, antioxidant, cancer risks