Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Foods that Fight Cancer

This is my follow up to yesterday's introductory post about this book.
Here I will briefly summarize some of the more important information about benefits of the foods for preventing and fighting cancer :
  1. Seaweeds have properties that cause cancer cells to self destruct! Eating dried (nori in sushi) or rehydrated seaweed (like in seaweed salad or miso soup) or using it as a base in soups and broths is a great way to take advantage of their benefits.Wild wakame (typical in miso soup and seaweed salad). Image from http://www.marlin.ac.uk/shore_thing/creature/August2008.html
  2. Mushrooms are rich in anticancer molecules that slow tumor growth and the progress of cancer. Mushrooms of Asian origin (shiitake, enokitake and maitake) and oyter mushrooms have the most but even the white buttons have some! :) (I love them in mushroom risotto!)Cultivated enokitake mushrooms. Image from http://frutasfranciscosalado.com/?tag=enokitake
  3. Flax seed contains Omega 3 fatty acids that we can convert into DHA and EPA forms. They also contain lignans, these are phytoestrogens that reduces the harmful effects of having high blood estrogen levels. To get all the benefits you must reduce your Omega 6 fatty acid intake (these come from grains) to achieve a balance of 1:1 of Omega 3:6. Also, you must grind the flax before consuming and only grind right before eating or else the Omega 3s will break down.Brown flax. Image from http://www.nutsonline.com/cookingbaking/seeds/flax/premium.html
  4. Herbs and Spices. Eat lots of Turmeric, Ginger, Chili pepper, Black pepper, Cloves, Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Oreagno, Parsley, Coriander (Cilantro), Fennel and Anise. Fry turmeric in olive oil for 1-2 minutes to increase its potency by 10 times!My basil (top) and spearmint plants that I planted today.
  5. Always use olive or canola oil for cooking. Olive Oil image from http://blackstrands.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/danis-do-it-or-lose-it-list-natural-oils/
  6. Probiotics (who knew they were actually good for you and not just marketting from the yogurt companies!). Probiotics are good bacteria that can actually pass through the very acid conditions of your stomach to colonize your colon. They help your immune system, prevent carcinogenic substances from being taken up, reduce the amount of harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of and are use to treat digestive tract cancers. Eat them every couple of days since they only stay with us a short time!!! Good and Bad bacteria in your intestine. Image from http://www.drnatura.com/flora_protect_jr.php
  7. Eat Cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc.) 3 times per week! They are our front line defense against cancer! Kale Image from http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/vegetables/images/kale.jpg
  8. Eat lots of soy! Isoflavones are found exclusively in soy and are great in preventing breast cancer. However, if you have a history of breast cancer, you should actually avoid soy. Soy nuts (a good snack that also lowers your blood pressure!) Image from http://www.laurelonhealthfood.com/2007/08/soy-nuts-lower-blood-pressure/
  9. Tomatoes contain lycopene which interferes with prostate cancer! However, they need to be cooked and eaten with olive oil to get the full benefits! Image from http://thundafunda.com/how-to/how-to-grow-tomatoes-at-home.html
  10. Berries! The active substances found in large amounts in strawberries, blueberries, raspberries interfere with the formation of new blood vessels to a tumor. Other antioxidants found in blueberries and cranberries interfere with tumor development! No sacrifice to eat lots of these in my opinion! :) Mixed berries image from http://www.wairere.co.nz/how-to.mvc
  11. Citrus fruits contain limonene and studies have found that consumption of citrus reduces by half the chances of developing digestive tract cancers by interfering with cancer cell growth and reducing inflammation. Grapefruit image from http://www.earthsongcandles.com/Ionic_Aromatherapy_Salt_Cry.html
  12. Drink 3 cups of Japanese Green Tea (from leaves not bags!) per day. It contains one of the highest concentrations of anticancer molecules of all the foods. Catechins target a large number of processes associated with the development of cancer cells and should be on the top of any cancer prevention and treatment list! Japanese green tea image from http://www.knowledgebase-script.com/demo/article-414.html
  13. Red Wine has high concentrations of resveratol (found int he skin of grapes) which is the only molecule of dietary origin that will act simultaneously on more than one crucial phase of tumor development!!! It also has cardiovascular benefits! However, consuming large amounts of alcohol will counteract any benefits. So keep it to one glass a day along with a healthy diet to get the maximum benefits!Glass of wine image from http://stanford.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/a-glass-of-red-wine-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away/508379
  14. Last but definitely not least... Dark Chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) can significantly slow down the growth of some cancers induced by carcinogenic substances! However, since chocolate is calorie packed it should be eaten in moderation and never with milk! Milk will actually prevent the absorption of the beneficial compounds. Your recommended daily intake... 2 squares a day.Dark Chocolate image from http://www.definebody.com/nutrition/what-makes-dark-chocolate-healthy/
I would have to say, all of these recommendations make complete sense and all are pretty appetizing. For those of you who know me, know that it took me over a year of training to actually like mushrooms and that I am not a fan of food that comes from the sea (for more than just environmental reasons...it typically tastes bad!). But I am slowly learning to like them. It is all mind over taste buds and eventually, like mushrooms, I will actually begin to like them. While others, like chocolate and red wine I need to exert a lot of discipline to not exceed my daily dose! :)

Although this post has focused on cancer, these tips are really for healthy living in general. Combine these with some yoga and other physical activity and you are set in mind, body and soul!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this info. I try and have these in my diet but after reading your post there are some that I don't have as often as I could. It would'nt be hard to have these on a regular basis.