Want to reduce your risk of cancer? It turns out protection from this killer can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, including our own dinner plate.
Following are three cancer-fighting foods to add to your shopping list that are bound to surprise you…
1. Black eyed peas:
A cup of black eyed peas is packed with 89 percent of your daily recommended amount of cancer-fighting folate. Experts say when our folate levels drop too low we’re far more likely to have mutations show up in our DNA.
Research has revealed that dietary folate could help reduce your risk of colon cancer, other gastrointestinal tract cancers and pancreatic cancer.1 In one large scale study on male smokers, men who were eating at least the daily recommended allowance of folate had half the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.2
Other foods that are rich in folate include…
- mung beans
Just be sure to try to get your folate from food rather than the synthetic version known as folic-acid. The jury is still out, but some studies have uncovered a potential link between folic acid and tumor growth in folks who already have cancer. So to be safe stick with the real deal whenever possible. (Pregnant ladies… and those trying… should, of course, follow their doctor’s advice on folic acid)
And since cooking can destroy some folate content consider eating some of your folate-rich foods raw and juicing to get even more of this cancer-fighter.
2. Portabella mushrooms:
When you mention vitamin D most folks automatically think of milk. Milk is indeed fortified with D, but you can also get this valuable cancer-preventing vitamin in other foods including—much to most people’s surprise—portabella mushrooms.
A study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting revealed that a higher vitamin D intake may slash your breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent, according to a report published in the journal Oncology Times.3
Low vitamin D levels have been liked to breast cancer as well as tumor progression and metastasis (spread).4 And women with breast cancer who have high levels of D are twice as likely to survive according to a study published in the journal Anticancer Research.5
Portabella’s pack in around 163 percent of your daily recommended amount of D per cup. But remember D is a fat soluble vitamin so be sure to pair your mushrooms with some healthy fat such as olive oil, coconut oil or butter.
Other foods that are rich in D include…
- cod liver oily,
- oily fish such as smoked salmon, swordfish, salmon, and mackerel
Spending a little more time in the sun without sunscreen on and with your arms and head exposed is another great way to naturally raise your D levels. Fifteen to twenty minutes a day should do the trick, netting you at least 1,000 to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D depending on the time of year, your location and weather. If you find you have a hard time getting enough D through diet and sun exposure Vitamin D3 supplements are a good option too.
3. Brussels sprouts:
Brussels sprouts have been having their moment in the sun the last few years. Chefs have embraced them and folks who once turned their noses up at “baby cabbages” as a kid are learning just how delicious this veggie can be. And that’s great news because cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, could naturally help ward off cancer.
Some studies have shown that men who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of prostate cancer.6,7 Women who eat more of them may have a lower risk of colon cancer, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.8 And women who eat more than 5 servings of cruciferous veggies a week had a lower risk of lung cancer according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.9
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates which break down into a number of compounds some of which have been shown to have the potential to help ward off cancer in lab studies. Indoles and isothiocyanates, for example, have been shown to inhibit breast, bladder, colon, liver, lung and stomach cancer in animal organs.10,11
Folks who have never had a tasty Brussel sprout should give this simple recipe a try…
|Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes|
|These Brussels sprouts are nothing like the limp bitter veggie you remember from your childhood. Savory with a punch of sweet, this cancer-fighting side dish will be a new family favorite.
• Preheat oven to 4oo degrees F.
• Put the sprouts, grapes, oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper into a bowl and toss to coat sprouts.
• Dump sprouts and gapes onto a large rimmed cookie sheet and placing the sprouts cut side downt and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until they’re golden brown and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
Still not a Brussels sprouts fan? Other cruciferous vegetables to try include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnip greens.
1. “Folate and cancer prevention: a closer look at a complex picture,” Am J Clin Nutr, August 2007, vol. 86 no. 2 271-273
2. “Pancreatic cancer risk and nutrition-related methyl-group availability indicators in male smokers,” J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Mar 17;91(6):535-41
3. “Suggestion that Vitamin D May Protect against Breast Cancer,” AACR Annual Meeting, Oncology Times, 25 June 2006 – Volume 28 – Issue 12 – p 50–51
4. “Tumor Autonomous Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency Promote Breast Cancer Metastasis,” Endocrinology. 2016 Apr;157(4):1341-7. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-2036. Epub 2016 Mar 2.
5. “Meta-analysis of Vitamin D Sufficiency for Improving Survival of Patients with Breast Cancer,” Anticancer Research March 2014 vol. 34 no. 3 1163-1166
6. “Vegetables, fruits, legumes and prostate cancer: a multiethnic case-control study,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Aug;9(8):795-804
7. “Plant foods, antioxidants, and prostate cancer risk: findings from case-control studies in Canada,” Nutr Cancer. 1999;34(2):173-84
8. “Vegetable and fruit consumption and risks of colon and rectal cancer in a prospective cohort study: The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer,” Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Dec 1;152(11):1081-92
9. “Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of lung cancer among men and women,” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000 Nov 15;92(22):1812-23
10. “Inhibition of carcinogenesis by isothiocyanates,” Drug Metab Rev. 2000 Aug-Nov;32(3-4):395-411
11.”Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention,”Nutr Cancer. 2001;41(1-2):17-28
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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