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Foods To Fight Cancer

Diet is now considered a major weapon against cancer. Recent

research indicates that what you eat may help to significantly
reduce your risk.

Cancer develops over a long time, which means that you have
years – typically decades – in which to hinder or promote it.
Researchers are finding that what you eat may interfere with
cancer growth at various stages. For example, certain foods can
block the chemicals that initiate cancer.
Anti-oxidants, found in some vitamins and minerals, can snuff out oxygen-free radicals,
substances that are thought to make cells more susceptible to cancer, and they can even
repair some of the cellular damage that has been done. And some food – wheat bran in
particular – has been shown to shrink precancerous cells.

A recent review of 170 studies from 17 nations reveals that people who eat the most fruits
and vegetables have about half the cancer rates of those who eat the least. That includes
cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, oesophagus, oral cavity, stomach, bladder,
pancreas and ovary.

In fact, some research suggests that frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables can cut
the risk of lung cancer even in smokers. “It is almost mind-boggling,” says Tim Byers, an
epidemiologist with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “that ordinary
fruits and vegetables can be so effective against such a potent carcinogen as cigarette

One of the most studied antioxidants in vegetables and fruits thought to protect against
cancer is beta-carotene, concentrated in deep green, yellow and orange vegetables such as
carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach.

Fruits high in beta-carotene include apricots and muskmelons. In test-tube studies at

Harvard University, beta-carotene had a direct toxic effect on cells, taken from malignant
tumours. It also reduced the growth of lung cancer cells and altered the proteins needed
for tumours to grow.

Research also shows that beta-carotene can change in the body to retinoic acid, a
substance used in clinical trials to treat certain cancers.

Here are some of the foods that contain cancer-fighting chemicals: >>

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Tomatoes: One of the compounds in tomatoes that is thought to reduce the risk of cancer
is lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red. Lycopene, an antioxidant that is also
found in watermelons and apricots, quenches certain cancer-triggering oxygen-free

Having little lycopene in youn blood is associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer,
according to a Johns Hopkins University study. People with pancreatic cancer showed
lower levels of lycopene compared with healthy individuals. Lycopene is present in
tomato products, including sauces, tomato paste and even ketchup.

Green Vegetables: A recent Italian study showed that dark green leafy vegetables lower
the risk of many cancers. Spinach, broccoli, kale (a variety of cabbage) and dark-green
lettuces are chock-full of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, folate and lutein. A good
rule of thumb: the darker the vegetable, the more antioxidants within.

Pungent Preventives: A whole host of chemicals thought to have cancer inhibiting

properties have been identified in allium vegetables, which include garlic and onions.
Animal studies show that many of these chemicals block carcinogens that have been
linked to colon, stomatch, lung and liver cancer.

A study at Pennsylvania State University found that feeding rats various garlic extracts
and preparations reduced mammary turmours by as much as 71 percent. In humans,
studies suggest that those who eat more onions and garlic are less prone to
gastrointestinal cancer.

Research suggests that garlic compounds may even interfere with cancer progression. A
recent German study found that ajoene, a garlic compound is toxic to malignant cells.
Garlic may also antagonize existing cancer by boosting immune functions, according to
American researchers. Their study; done on mice, found that garlic’s sulphur compounds
increased the activity of macrophages and T-lymphocytes, two of the components of the
immune system that destroy turmour cells.

Citrus Fruit: “Eat oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes as often as possible,” says
American toxicologist Herbert Pierson. He calls citrus fruit an all-around cancer package
because it possesses every class of natural substances (carotenoids, flavonoids and others)
that individually have neutralized powerful chemical carcinogens in animals.

Citrus fruit may be particularly effective in reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer. One
study found that in a group of Swedes, those who ate a citrus fruit almost daily reduced
the risk of pancreatic cancer by one-half to more than two-thirds, as compared with
eating citrus fruit less than once a week.

Cruciferous Vegetables>>
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Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels
sprouts, broccoli, kale, mustard greens and turnips, may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
In fact, one research team found that feeding animals cabbage and collard greens (also a
crufiferous vegetable), along with a low-fat diet, reduced the incidence of mammary

Eat cruciferous vegetables raw or lightly cooked. Overcooking my destroy the cancer
protective compounds found in these vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables may also work to head off stomach and colon cancer. Research
has revealed that men who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had a 70 percent lower
risk of colon cancer than those who ate the least of such vegetables.

Soyabeans: Soyabeans contain atleast five compounds believed to inhibit cancer. Infact,
one of the compounds is chemically similar to the drug tamoxifen, which is routinely
used to treat oestrogen-dependent breast cancer and is now being tested in a large clinical
trial to see if it can prevent the disease.

Dried and canned beans: including chick-peas, lentils, kidney, black, and white beans –
contain possible anti-cancer agents at well. One California study showed that those who
ate beans weekly were 40 percent less likely to die those who ate them less than once a

Wheat Bran: Wheat bran may lower the risk of colon cancer. A double-blind study of
patients at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Centre found that two 30-gram
servings of wheat bran cereal a day caused premalignant colon polyps to shrink within six
months. Most remarkable, say researchers, is that such a small amount of food could have
such an impact within a short period of time, illustrating that dietary intervention may
work even after precancerous warning signs have appeared.

Low-Fat Milk: While the saturated fat in milk seems to promote certain cancers, another
substance in milk may deter them. Researchers at a cancer institute discovered, not
surprisingly, that drinkers of whole milk had higher odds than non-milk-drinkers of
developing cancers of the oral cavity, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, bladder, breast and
cervix. But they also found that those drinking low-fat milk were less likely than non-
milk-drinkers to develop cancers of the oral cavity, stomach, rectum and cervix,
riboflavin, or vitamins A, C, and D (present in whole milk, too, but apparently less
effective) may act as anti-cancer agents in ways not yet understood.

To Get the most cancer-protective compounds from your diet, strive for five or more
servings of fruits and vegetables daily, advises the US national Cancer Institute. One
serving means – 115 grams of raw leafy vegetables, one medium piece of fresh fruit, or
about 170 grams of fruit juice or vegetable juice. The ideal diet is low in fact and
calories, light in fibre, and it includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts.