5 Cancer Fighting Foods You Must Add to Your Diet
As a cancer survivor I have spent the last 6 years of my life researching nutrition and health theories and practices to ensure that I stay cancer free for the rest of my life.
In doing that research there have been a few themes that have come up over and over again. One of them being, what do I eat to prevent cancer?
Now, first let me say that although I do believe that nutrition is SUPER important for helping to prevent cancer, and possibly treat cancer. I am not saying that it will cure you.
When I was diagnosed back in 2011, I went through chemotherapy AND I focused on nutrition, mental health, physical health and spiritual health. If you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis currently, please consult your doctor or naturopath for advice on treating cancer.
If you currently are in remission or are looking to prevent cancer recurrence, then you might be ready to explore some of the different theories around natural based healing.
Your body is creating cancerous cells every single day. If your immune system is healthy then you will fight those off before they ever get the chance to create a tumor. If you have an unhealthy immune system, cancer cells can proliferate and create tumors that need to be addressed.
Now I don’t know what your diet/lifestyle currently looks like, but before I was diagnosed my eating habits were Burger King and vodka. I ate a ton of dairy and I didn’t sleep much. I now know what I didn’t know then, which was if you’re not feeding your body nutrients, you’re giving your immune system a sucker punch, again and again.
Today, I know better, I have learned how to eat better. The foods below are my top 5 recommended foods for daily consumption to help live a healthier life and prevent disease.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. They are high in antioxidants which defend against free radical cells in your body that can turn into cancer cells. Antioxidants help to kill those cells so your body can continue creating healthy cells.
Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are the biggest bang for your buck. They have the highest antioxidant activity of any of the common fruits.
Berries also provide several vitamins and minerals. They are a nutrient powerhouse! They are low in calories and rich in minerals like vitamin C and manganese.
They also help to fight inflammation, which can help reduce risk of heart disease and other health problems.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy berries is in a morning shake or smoothie. Adding berries is a great way to make your favorite shake a little sweeter without adding processed sugars.
Another great way to enjoy berries is as a desert after dinner. Kick the ice cream habit, and puree some frozen berries into a smoothie, or just eat fresh berries as a snack!
I love garlic. Garlic is the best tasting, superfood, amazingness that can be added to almost every meal.
Garlic is naturally, especially in its raw state anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. It’s a miracle plant!
It is super nutrient dense with stuff like manganese, vitamins B6 and C, selenium and fiber.
Just like berries, garlic is powerful at fighting free radicals and boosting your immune system. It also can help you fight the common cold to get rid of symptoms faster.
Garlic has been involved in many studies that have shown it literally killing cancer cells and slowing the growth of tumors. 2
I put garlic in almost everything! It’s great with any savory dishes, and the closer you can eat it to raw the better. Sometimes when I am sick, I’ll even crush some up and drink it with my tea and honey.
Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, kale, etc)
Mmmm.. Broccoli. My favorite veggie, and not just because it tastes good but also because it is so good for you!
Again, you are probably noticing a theme here but cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cauliflower contain several types of antioxidants that help fight those nasty little free radicals. Antioxidants are king in the cancer fighting world.
These veggies help protect cells in mice and rats from DNA damage, they neutralize carcinogens, induce cell death and inhibit tumor blood vessel formation and migration. 3
Although results in humans have been inconclusive. It’s safe to say that these types of vegetables eaten in combination with a healthy diet are great for you and have shown promise in being cancer fighters.
Broccoli, and cauliflower are best steamed to retain their nutrients. I use a rice maker with a steamer basket to make a meal super easy!
Brussel sprouts taste best when they are lightly roasted with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Other veggies in this group include, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, and kale to name a few.
If you haven’t heard of this root, think about it as the orange color of curry powder. Turmeric is a root that looks a lot like ginger and is from the same family. It is very orange in color and is filled with health benefits.
Turmeric helps with everything from reducing cancer risk, to improving cognitive function, pain relief. The ingredient in turmeric that is so powerful is called curcumin.
Curcumin has been shown in a large number of studies on rats and mice to lower cancer risk for several types of cancer.
Most of the time when I am eating turmeric it’s in curry, but I’ve always taken it in pill form as well. It’s important to know that turmeric is most effective in it’s cancer preventing role when it’s eaten with black pepper.
Spinach is so versatile. You put it in a smoothie, saute it with some garlic, add it to a stir fry. This dark green leaf is awesome, doesn’t have a super strong flavor and is very good for you!
Spinach is very high in vitamins K and A, as well as magnesium and iron. It is very anti-inflammatory which can help prevent cancer.
I think the best part about spinach is it’s very easy to grow yourself and get the nutrients as close to the plant still being alive as possible. It can easily be grown in a small container on a patio or in a bright window and if you cut it back it will grow back again.
My two favorite ways to eat spinach are blended in a smoothie or sauteed with garlic and olive oil.