10 Cancer-Fighting Foods You Should Know About

Cancer is one of the most terrifying modern illnesses, and almost everyone knows someone affected by cancer. Cancer affects millions of people – in the United States over 1 million people are affected each year. It has a high mortality rate due to the cells’ abnormal behavior. Cancer is caused by uncontrollable cell divisions which cause abnormal cell growth and tumors. When cells divide without control, they tend to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymphatic systems and blood.

The root causes of cancer are complex, but some of the common causes include a poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins, high stress levels, poor digestion, nutrient deficiencies, sedentary lifestyle, chronic sleep debt,  genetics, and infections. The reason is all of these culprits above trigger inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation triggers cancer cells to growth exponentially.   

The good news is that 40% or more of cancers can be prevented by drastically cutting down the inflammation in our body. The inflammation is dramatically cut down by a healthy lifestyle and diet since immune boosting cells begin to growing exponentially and cancer cells are getting killed off. Inflammation can be kept at bay through healthy nutrition, stress management, sufficient daily sleep, and daily physical play. These preventive treatments along with chemotherapy/radiation/surgery can resolve cancer and save thousands of lives.

Let’s look at some healthy foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to fight cancer from initiating or spreading, and which foods to avoid.

Foods to Avoid

The following list of foods increases inflammation and increases your cancer risk:

Opt for meat, eggs, and dairy products that are organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and additive-free.  Opt for wild, small fish.  Have these items only 2 to 3 times per week maximum.

Foods That Help Fight Cancer

In 2010 the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) did a study with 519,978 participants across 10 European nations. They studied the diets of these people and their risk to get cancer. They found that those on a Mediterranean diet were the most protected and had a lower risk of contracting cancer due to the higher intakes of Vitamin C, carotenoids, retinol, α-tocopherol, and fiber.

Here is a list of foods that are good for your health and can protect you from cancer:

  1. Leafy green vegetables: These should form the main staple in your diet. Leafy greens are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes, while being low in fats, calories, and toxins. Examples include spinach, collard greens, kale, romaine, watercress, and arugula salad.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables are powerful cancer killers. They are high in Vitamin C, rich in the powerful antioxidant glutathione, and have free-radical-scavenging abilities. Examples include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  3. Bright orange colored fruits and vegetables: The brightly colored pigment found in these foods is a sign that they contains a high amount of phytochemicals such as carotenoid antioxidants. The carotenoid, beta-carotene, is essential for healthy immune functioning, liver health, detoxification, and fighting cancer in the skin, eyes, and organs. These include citrus fruit, squash, and carrots.
  4. Berries:  Almost all berries are high in antioxidants and include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Gallic acid. They also have antifungal and antiviral properties which increase immunity. Healthy berries include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, goji berries, blackberries, and camu camu.
  5. Herbs and spices: Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which fights inflammation and can decrease a tumor size, and fights colon and breast cancer. Use turmeric with black pepper to increase the absorption rate of curcumin. Other immune boosting herbs include ginger, thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano, and parsley.
  6. Organic meats: Organic meats are high in vitamin B12. Because meats take a long time to digest, eat only as a small side dish (never a main staple of a meal). Too much meat consumed each day can hurt kidney and liver function. Hence, keep meat intake to only two to three times per week and NEVER for dinner. Avoid beef since it contains the highest level of toxins of any other meat source.
  7. Raw dairy products:  Raw dairy products are rich in probiotics and promote the natural bacterial balance in the intestines. Probiotics increase your immunity, stop tumor growth, and help with cell renewal.  These items include yogurt made from raw milk and Kefir.  Pasteurized dairy products (most commonly sold in the market) have already killed away  vital nutrients, including the enzymes, proteins, and probiotics, in milk. Pasteurized milk also contains hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides which are harmful to our bodies.
  8. Nuts and seeds: Chia and flax seeds are rich in nutrients, minerals, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids. Other seeds with healthy fatty acids include hemp seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower.  Nuts should be consumed only in cooking or in drinks.  Raw nuts create increased acidity in the blood which promote inflammation. .
  9. Unrefined oils: Most processed fats and oils consumed today are hydrogenated. They  destroy cell membranes while causing cell congestion, weakening the immune system, and increasing inflammation. Unrefined oils, like coconut, flax, and extra virgin olive oil,  nourish the gut and support our immune system.
  10. Wild-caught, small fish: These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and exposed to the least amount of toxins. Ideal fish include salmon, mackerel, and sardines.  Have fish as a side dish a maximum of 2 times per week and NOT for dinner.

Ready to Fight Cancer?

Adopt a healthy diet and make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of cancer. Lifestyle changes include maintaining a healthy weight, drinking lots of water, exercise regularly, limiting your alcohol intake, and avoiding tobacco.  For more personalized guidance of how to prevent and treat cancer,visit Dr. Bhandari for advice.  She will create a personalized treatment plan which is immune boosting and cancer fighting.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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