The choices you make every day are important to prevent cancer. Find out foods that are proven to fight cancer and even kill cancer stem cells — the root cause of cancer — and steps you can take to avoid this dreaded disease.
By William Li, MD, author of Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself
Food is a powerful tool for cancer prevention.
In fact, 40% of all cancer could be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes.
The choices we make when it comes to food are incredibly important for preventing, treating, and even reversing cancer.
Here are five foods to eat and two lifestyle factors to avoid that could help reduce your cancer risk.
4 Foods You Can Eat to Prevent Cancer
Eating tree nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, and Brazil nuts, may help prevent cancer.
Nuts contain cancer-fighting polyphenols that boost our immune systems to fight cancer. They also have healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can starve cancer by cutting off its blood supply.
A major study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that people who ate nuts significantly reduced their risk of cancer (and overall mortality) compared to people who ate few or no nuts.
Additionally, the American Society of Clinical Oncology released a report of more than 800 patients with stage III colon cancer showing that eating nuts can make a significant difference in overall cancer survival.
In the study, those who consumed about two small handfuls (about 2 ounces) of tree nuts per week had a 46% lower chance of cancer recurrence and a 53% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.
2. Cooked Tomatoes
The cancer-fighting power of tomatoes may be attributable to lycopene, a cancer starver, which is found in highest levels in the San Marzano tomato.
Lycopene also protects your DNA from damage, which helps shield you against cancer.
Studies show that men who eat two to three cups of cooked tomatoes twice weekly have a 30% lowered risk of prostate cancer.
Editor’s note: Cooking tomatoes increases the lycopene content, which boosts the cancer-fighting power of tomatoes.
3. Purple Potatoes
4. Matcha Green Tea
Cancer researchers in England have shown that the matcha green tea has the ability to fight breast cancer by cutting off the fuel lines to their cancer stem cells.
Cancer stem cells are responsible for creating more cancer cells, and they’re responsible for cancer returning after treatment. Without fuel, cancer stem cells can’t function and die. So finding ways to destroy them is a kind of “holy grail” in cancer research.
While the study was done in the laboratory (and not in people with breast cancer), this discovery is exciting and should lead to further research to see if the same effects will take place in people with breast cancer.
Editor’s note: For more on matcha, including how to take advantage of its many benefits, click here. Mushrooms are another food found to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 64%. Read more about this study here.
2 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Cancer
1. Reduce or Avoid Grilled Meats
When meat is grilled, the flames produce toxic carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
These carcinogens form when oils from the meat drip into flame and smoke. The rising smoke deposits the carcinogens right onto the cooking meat.
High grilling temperatures also convert amino acids and proteins in meat into dangerous toxins called heterocyclic amines (HCA).
2. Say No to Second-Hand Smoke
Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, but did you know that breathing the exhaled smoke from someone else is just as bad?
Being in the household or regular company of an active smoker increases cancer risk. Even pet cats that live with smokers develop more cancer because they lick the smoke off their fur.
Tell us in the comments below:
What are your favorite cancer-fighting foods?
Will you make any changes after reading this article?
What steps do you take to prevent cancer?
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