22 August 2010

Foods That Fight Cancer

Foods that fight cancer: fruits, vegetables could save your life

by Charlotte Lyons

No one food or diet can ensure your immunity from cancer, but a simple change in your eating habits can reduce the risk of cancer and can help you live longer if you have cancer.

Some foods, in fact, fight cancers by preventing formation of cancer-causing canrcinogens and by keeping them from reaching crucial body sites. Other foods keep cells that have been exposed to cancer-causing agents from turning malignant. Still others help heal malignant areas in the body.

The first step in waging your own personal war against cancer is to choose a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat, one that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The National Cancer Institute suggests that Americans eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day and 6 to 11 servings of grains, as represented on the U.S. Department of Agriculture food guide pyramid. A daily intake of 20 to 30 grams of fiber found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, dried beans and peas is recommended.

To fight cancer, you should also limit consumption of meats, especially those high in fat. A high-fat diet has been associated with an increase in cancers of the colon, rectum, prostate and endometrium. A great deal of evidence indicates that saturated fat may increase the risk of cancer as well as heart disease. Avoiding fat not only reduces the risk of cancer but improves your ability to manage your weight. The American Cancer Institute suggests that fat should account for 30 percent or less of your daily calories.

Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables also reduces the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. There is strong evidence that the risk of colon cancer is reduced when people eat fruits and vegetables, especially green and dark yellow vegetables, and those in the cabbage family, soy products and beans.

A lower risk of lung cancer also has been associated with greater consumption of vegetables and fruits. The major risk factor for lung cancer is tobacco, but fruit and vegetables reduce cancer risk whether individuals smoke cigarettes or not.

To understand better how foods fight cancer, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the sometimes frightening words people use to discuss the agents that cause cancer and the food substances that tend to destroy them or to hinder their growth. Take, for example, the word carcinogen, which means simply any substance or agent that tends to produce cancer. Another $50 word is phytochemical, a chemical compound created by plants.

Some phytochemicals prevent the formation of carcinogens and keep carcinogens from reaching important sites in the body. Other phytochemicals keep cells that have been exposed to carcinogens from becoming malignant. Phytochemicals also strengthen the body's immune system and function as antioxidants to flush out free radicals. For example, lycopene, a substance found in tomato-based foods, has been found to have potent antioxidant properties that appear to be particularly effective against prostate cancer. It is also believed that phytochemicals inhibit the growth of budding tumors and block cellular receptor sites for natural hormones, such as estrogen, that might trigger malignancy.

Although research is continuing on how these and other compounds fight cancers, medical experts say you should take personal responsibility for eating well to stay healthy. The best advice today is to base your diet on the food pyramid and to eat a variety of foods to ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs.

Eating smart puts you in control of your health and nutrition. It can also save your life.



Carrots, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes Antioxidant

Tomatoes Seems effective in fighting
prostate cancer

Citrus Fruits, Onions, Apples, Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
Grapes and anti-carcinogen

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Turnips, Suppress tumor growth
Brussels Sprouts

Strawberries, Raspberries, Apples Neutralize cancer-causing

Whole Grain, Flaxseed, Berries Antioxidant, protect against
colon cancer

Garlic, Onions Interferes with cancer-causing
enzymes (antibiotic)

Soybeans Lowers risk of breast, ovarian
and prostate cancer

Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Interferes with the growth of
Grapefruits carcinogens

Hot Peppers Prevents the activation of
cancer-causing chemicals

Green Tea, Black Tea Anti-cancer activist; blood


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