October 8, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Updated Version - July 28, 2023
The risk of developing cancer can be reduced if you consume foods that have anticancer properties. This article lists the best cancer fighting foods.
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Many foods contain naturally occurring compounds that have anti-cancer properties. Let's take a look at some of the best foods that can reduce the risk of cancer.
The phytochemicals inside apples have many preventive effects against various types of cancer. These effects include regulation of proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and anti-inflammatory activities. Consumption of apple reduces the risk of cancer.
Carrots contain several essential nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Carrots also contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which is responsible for its distinct orange color. Recent studies have found that beta-carotene plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and may prevent certain types of cancer.
Berries such as blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates and raspberries are relatively low in natural sugar, Berries have an abundance of blue-purple pigments called anthocyanins that reduce inflammation and protect the brain from oxidation. Berries also contain ellagic acid, which neutralizes carcinogens and has anti-tumor benefits. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation.
Nuts contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. The anti-inflammatory compound provides dual protection – reduces the formation of free radicals and puts the brakes on cell signals that support and promote cancer growth. Research has shown that certain types of nuts such as Brazil nuts and walnuts may reduce the risk of cancer.
Turmeric is a golden-yellow-colored seasoning used in many Indian dishes. It contains polyphenol curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which helps to fight cancer. Curcumin appears to reduce tumor reproduction and induce tumor cell death.
Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients whether eaten raw, juiced, or lightly cooked. Spinach is loaded with vitamin K, antioxidants and fiber. It contains carotenoids, which support eye health. It has folate, which aids DNA formation and repair. Several studies suggest that phytochemicals glycoglycerolipids and carotenoids fight cancer, especially of prostate, breast, and stomach. Spinach and arugula also contain nitrates that produce nitric oxide and nourish the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale, contain chemicals called glucosinolates that fight cancer in several ways. These chemicals include indole-3 carbinol, which reduces hormone-sensitive cancers; sulforaphane, which deactivates carcinogens; and fiber, which is a cancer preventive.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as cancer-fighting properties. Onions provide all the same benefits. It contains molecules containing quercetin and sulfur that inhibit certain carcinogens and induce apoptosis, a process that kills abnormal cells.
Oily fish including swordfish, salmon, mackerel, and canned fish such as sardines, salmon, and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest eating fish and omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cancer.