Our society puts a lot of focus on eating for weight gain and loss. However, it seems that not enough emphasis is placed on eating to prevent disease.
Cancer is one of the most feared diseases out there, because modern medicine has no cure or direct known cause.
Though there are some speculations that toxins, certain animal-based foods, and environmental chemicals can lead to cancer, none of us are able to consider ourselves completely bulletproof from getting it.
Nevertheless, studies show that a plant-based diet high in antioxidant-rich foods is one of the best defenses against the mutation of abnormal cells that leads to cancer.
So, why not arm yourself each day by building an anticancer menu on a regular basis?
Foods which may help starve cancer
Certain foods, when eaten on a regular basis, have been shown to starve cancer cells and prevent the abnormal cells from multiplying.
Many of these foods are typical foods you hear about being good for your heart, blood sugar, brain, and waistline too. So the good news is, eating to prevent cancer isn’t much different than eating to prevent other chronic illnesses.
Studies show that those who eat a plant-based diet with less processed foods have lower rates of cancer than those who don’t. And, while a healthy diet isn’t a 100 percent cancer prevention guarantee, it is one of the largest contributing factors to immune health and disease prevention.
What is a plant-based diet and which foods should you focus on?
Below are some of the most beneficial foods linked to immune health. These foods are high in antioxidants, and have certain properties that break down toxins and eliminate harmful agents that may cause the multiplication of abnormal cells. Science has shown them to be incredibly powerful in fighting the war on cancer.
Start with adding more of these:
Blueberries are high in antioxidants that boost immune health, and have been shown to prevent cellular degeneration. They are high in phytochemicals that help prevent diseases of all kinds. Blueberries are also a great source of vitamins C and K, and the mineral manganese.
Oatmeal is not only one of the best foods shown through many scientific studies to promote more satiety and healthier cholesterol levels, it’s also been shown to be one of the best to boost immune, skin, and heart health.
Oats have been linked to reducing the risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
Oatmeal can bolster immune health when it comes to cancer, as well. The beta-glucan fibers oatmeal contains (known for reducing cholesterol levels) help fight pathogens and toxins that lead to cancer cell formation. When choosing oats, go for old-fashioned, steel-cut oats, with no additives.
Goji berries are not just a trendy superfood; laboratory studies have shown goji berries to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Goji berries are high in vitamin C, phytochemicals, and polysaccharides (plant sugars), which improve immune system response and improve radiation therapy response in cancer patients.
Flax is a fantastic source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps eliminate free radicals, boosts immune health, and even assists with healthy skin, blood pressure levels, and disease prevention. Flax seeds are also a good source of fiber, minerals, and phytoestrogens to block harmful types of estrogen linked to cancer development.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which contain compounds shown to help eliminate harmful environmental estrogens that can lead to the formation of cancer. Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, alkaline protein, calcium, and chlorophyll needed for optimum immune health.
Kale is also a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, and is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and chlorophyll. It also contains iron and a number of antioxidants shown to help inhibit cancer cells from forming or multiplying.
Winter squash has recently been given a spotlight as a top anticancer food, especially for the prevention of breast and skin cancer. We can thank the high amounts of beta-carotene in winter squash for its powerful immune-boosting properties.
Beta-carotene is the antioxidant found in winter squash varieties that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps to fight disease, keeps your blood healthy, and keeps your skin youthful!
Onions are a classic detox food, and they’re also a great veggie to focus on when looking to boost immune health. Onions are high in compounds that help fight cancer cell growth, and they also help fight pathogens and fungus of all kinds. On top of that, they’re a terrific source of vitamin C, potassium, and prebiotic fibers that boost gut health.
Garlic is another inexpensive yet powerful food. It’s a well-known food to help boost immunity and brain health, as well as to fight disease. Garlic is also a natural detoxifier, and has been shown to help fight everything from the common cold to candida — along with cancer cell formation.
Beets are high in folate, a B vitamin needed for optimal immunity and optimal cell metabolism. Beets are also a great source of fiber, polyphenols, and vitamin C. These lovely veggies are high in a compound known as betalain, which may help starve tumors and hinder cancer cell formation. Just a quarter of a cup of beets per day, or three beets per week, is all it takes to get the benefits.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help fight prostate cancer as well as skin cancer. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, which boosts immune health. They’re one of the most consistent foods linked to cancer prevention. Though cooking tomatoes will help you obtain more lycopene, eating them raw may help you obtain more vitamin C, so enjoy them either way you like!
Sweet potatoes, like winter squash, are high in beta-carotene. They’re also one of the highest sources of vitamin C and potassium of all plant-based foods. A diet rich in sweet potatoes may help fight abnormal cell growth and prohibit the formation of cancer cells. They’re also great for heart health, diabetes prevention, and your skin, too!
Mushrooms are classified as one of the top anticancer foods for all types of cancer, especially breast, colon, and skin cancers. They’re also a great source of vitamin D. As mushrooms grow, they absorb vItamin D from the sun, and as a result may be highly beneficial for fighting disease. Vitamin D is important for your immune health, and has been shown to potentially help fight colon cancer.
Other foods that have been shown to help fight cancer:
- All types of berries
- Turnips (and turnip greens)
Keep in mind that it’s best to eat a variety of different foods each day — that way you’ll get the benefits of them all!
Here’s a great sample menu that shows you just how delicious and easy a day of anticancer eats can be!
A bowl of steel-cut oats with blueberries, flax, a couple of goji berries, and organic coconut milk
A green smoothie with kale, blueberries, organic coconut milk, canned organic pumpkin, 3 tablespoons of flax, and ½ cup steel-cut oats
A simple salad with kale, romaine, chopped roasted sweet potato, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli drizzled in apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Add a little homemade mustard and black pepper for an extra kick and some antioxidants!
A baked sweet potato topped with homemade salsa, mushrooms, roasted broccoli, chickpeas, and a side of fruit.
Veggie soup with kale, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, red peppers, lentils, quinoa or steel-cut oats, tomatoes, and carrots
Roasted winter squash topped with wild rice, mushrooms, celery, and garlic. Serve with a side of kale, or kale salad with tomatoes and any other healthy ingredients you like.
Chocolate Goji Berry Pudding: Blend ½ cup organic coconut milk with 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 2 tablespoons flax seeds, 2 tablespoons raw cacao, and ¼ cup goji berries. Add raw stevia leaves or raw honey to sweeten, and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Enjoy!
Sweet potato “pie”: Blend ¼ cup flax seed with ¼ cup oats, 2 tablespoons organic coconut milk, and ¼ cup raisins in a food processor to form a paste. Spread onto a pie plate and press down to firm up.
Take 2 precooked sweet potatoes and add them to your food processor with 1 tablespoon raw honey, 2 soaked dates, 1 teaspoon ground chia, a dash of cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons organic milk. Blend into a soft pudding, and spread onto your crust. Let it firm in the fridge for 30 minutes, and you’re done!
To keep things simple, healthy, and inexpensive, the rule to remember is to make your meals using whole, plant-based foods.
You don’t need complex meals, and you don’t have to overdose on one certain food. Just eat a variety and you’ll be sure to get plenty of nutrients and disease-fighting compounds into your day.