There is no magic bullet when it comes to cancer prevention. Most people know that smoking greatly increases their risk, as does obesity. But what are the positive things we can do to prevent cancer?
The overview is that by getting regular exercise, controlling stress, and having two-thirds of our diet consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, we can go a long way to reducing our personal cancer risk.
The following are some veggies and fruits that have properties that help keep us healthier.
These and all veggies from the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family contain the antioxidant sulforaphane that significantly inhibits the growth of harmful cells and prevents healthy cells from being broken down by oxidation. Research by the American Cancer Society has established these types of veggies as being on the forefront of anti-cancer foods.
These and other berries are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and Gallic acid, as well as phytochemicals such as anthocyanins that give them their color. All of these help protect the body against cancer as well as fight the effects of aging. Wash berries in cool soapy water. Take them out quickly before the soap penetrates. Non-organic strawberries are heavily sprayed, so choose organic strawberries if you can, or even better, grow your own. Then you’ll only need to rinse them with cool water.
All members of the allium family contain compounds such as allicin, alliin and allyl sulfides that slow or stop the growth of tumors in the bladder, colon, prostate, and stomach. Garlic especially has been found to be a treasure trove of health-giving phytochemicals and nutraceuticals, in addition to its vitamins and minerals. The good news is there is no need to eat these veggies raw to obtain their health benefits: whether roasted, baked, boiled, or sautÃ©ed, they will help protect your body from cancer and other major diseases, as well.
For centuries people thought tomatoes were poisonous. This fruit’s red color comes from lycopene, a phytochemical that has been found to protect against prostate and other cancers. Cooked tomatoes are even better than raw in this respect, because the cooking process makes the lycopene more absorbable by the body. So keep making that homemade tomato sauce and ketchup.
Beans are high in fiber. Research indicates that including them in your daily diet will reduce your risk of colon cancer. Beans also have a high protein content and if eaten with brown rice, they form a complete protein as nutritious as beef but without the saturated fat. To increase the digestibility of hard beans, add some fennel or cumin as they are being cooked, or add a little bit of vinegar about half an hour before they are ready.
To learn more about how to stay healthy and prevent cancer, visit the Stay Healthy section of the ACS website. If you or a loved one is currently facing the challenge of cancer, visit the Find Support and Treatment section. And if you’d like to help the American Cancer Society by volunteering, visit the Get Involved section.
With best wishes from all of us at GrowJoy.