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Dec 26, 2007

Cancer Fighting Foods

While there’s no single food that can protect you against cancer completely, a growing body of research suggests that certain edibles can help to reduce your risk. Some of these foods and spices may thwart the onset of the disease, while others can help to limit the spread of cancer cell growth.According to the Cancer Cure Foundation, it’s best to eat a balanced diet that includes a rich assortment of the following foods and spices:

• Carrots. Carrots contain beta carotene, which may help to prevent cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate, and breast. Falcarinol is another substance found in carrots that may reduce the risk of cancer. Just be sure, however, to your carrots raw, as cooking will inhibit the benefits of falcarinol.
• Grapefruit. Citrus fruit contains monoterpenes, which are believed to help prevent cancer by ridding the body of carcinogens. Some studies have shown that grapefruit, in particular, may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells.
• Nuts. Nuts may suppress the growth of cancers because they contain the antioxidants quercetin and campferol. The Brazil nut, for example, contains 80 micrograms of selenium—a key supplement that may fight prostate cancer.
• Tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant that attacks roaming oxygen molecules that are suspected of triggering cancer. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, as well as vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help to prevent cellular damage. An increased amount of lycopene may reduce your risk of breast, prostate, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.
• Avocados. Since they’re rich in glutathione, avocados are considered a cancer-fighting “superfood.” Glutathione is an antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. In addition, avocados contain beta-carotene and more potassium than bananas.
• Garlic. Because garlic contains immune-enhancing allium compounds, researchers believe it may have cancer-preventing properties. These compounds increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer-causing substances. In addition, the compounds can help block carcinogens from entering cells and can slow tumor development.
• Mushrooms. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are among those that appear to help the body fight cancer and build the immune system. They all contain a protein called lectin, which attacks cancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying.
• Broccoli. Along with cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli contains a chemical component that may help to fight breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more productive variety. Broccoli, especially the sprouts, also features the phytochemical sulforaphanem, which is believed to aid in the prevention of colon and rectal cancer.
• Flax. Flax contains lignans, which may have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to aid in the prevention of colon cancer and heart disease.
• Raspberries. Because they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, plant compounds, and antioxidant anthocyanins, raspberries may protect against cancer. Black raspberries, which are incredibly rich in antioxidants, may be especially helpful in warding off colon cancer.