Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foods that Fight Cancer

What do green tea, citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, garlic, cabbage (and vegetables from the cabbage family, including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts), ginger, turmeric, mint, flaxseed, shiitake mushrooms, seaweed  and dark chocolate have in common?  They are all foods that fight cancer! Indeed, they are all foods with diverse cancer-fighting properties.

Diet is an important factor in the prevention of cancer. So say Drs. Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras in their practical book, Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer. The authors asked a group of chefs to devise recipes that not only are delicious but that include the fruits, vegetables and spices identified as containing anti-cancer molecules.

Backed by scientific research, the authors explain that green tea has one of the highest proportions of anti-cancer molecules, and raspberries, strawberries and blueberries have molecules that block tumor development. Eating cooked tomates increases blood lycopene levels, which interferes with the growth of precancerous cells in the prostate. Regularly consuming garlic lowers the risk of developing specific types of cancers, particularly esophagus, stomach and colon cancers. It seems garlic’s smelly molecules when crushed enable the elimination of toxic carcinogenic substances from the body. Crucifers and vegetables belonging to the cabbage family when eaten regularly significantly decease the risk of developing certain cancers, by stimulating our natural defence mechanisms. Ginger and turmeric are powerful spices due to their anti-inflammatory activity. Mint, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil and rosemary, all plants from the lamiaceae family, contain terpenes that block the development of cancer. In general, herbs and spices help prevent tumors from growing. Several kinds of mushrooms, such as shiitake, enokitake, maitake and boletes, have anti-cancer molecules that slow down the growth of tumors. Algae including seaweed counteract the the development of certain microtumors. Dark chocolate, which is chocolate made of 70% cocoa mass, has important health-promoting properties; although more studies are needed, results so far show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate regularly slows down the growth of some cancers.

So help your body fight cancer by integrating these ingredients into your diet. Doing so will allow you to eat well while protecting your health.

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