This article looks at the best cancer-fighting foods and explains the science that supports these claims.
Foods that contain naturally occurring compounds that have potent anticancer properties include:
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” actually rings fairly true. Apples contain polyphenols that have promising anticancer properties.
Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that may prevent inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and infections.
Some research suggests that polyphenols possess anticancer and tumor-fighting properties.
For example, the polyphenol phloretin inhibits a protein called glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) plays a role in advanced-stage cell growth in certain types of cancer.
One study from 2018 in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis suggests that apple phloretin significantly inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, while not affecting normal cells.
Berries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. Scientists have shown a lot of interest in berries due to their antioxidant properties and potential health benefits.
One study shows that anthocyanin, which is a compound in blackberries, lowers biomarkers for colon cancer.
Another study demonstrates that the anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries can prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.
Carrots contain several essential nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
Carrots also contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which is responsible for the distinct orange color.
Recent studies reveal that beta-carotene plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and may prevent certain types of cancer.
A review of eight studies shows that beta-carotene has links to a reduction in the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Another analysis shows that higher consumption of carrots results in a 26 percent lower risk of developing stomach cancer.
Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, are high in fiber, which may help lower a person’s risk of developing cancer.
One meta-analysis of 14 studies shows an association between higher legume consumption and lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Another study examines the relationship between the intake of bean fiber and risk of breast cancer.
The study results indicate that people who ate diets high in bean fiber were 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not meet their daily fiber intake.
Supplements and medications
Although the foods listed above are everyday products and readily available, some people may not want to make significant dietary or lifestyle changes. In this case, there are plenty of supplements and medications available that contain anticancer compounds.
Vitamins A, C, and E are notable for their anticancer properties and are available as supplements in most major grocery stores.
Most of the plant-based compounds listed throughout this article, such as phloretin, anthocyanin, and sulforaphane, come in pill form.
Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may also lower the risk of cancer in some people.
Always speak to a medical professional before starting a new medication or supplement regimen.
Research into preventing cancer through diet is still in the early stages and requires further testing. Scientists carried out most of the studies mentioned in cells or mice.
However, it is important to remember that eating a balanced diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, and good fats will benefit overall health.
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