Despite many advances in treatment over the last few decades, many people every year are diagnosed with some form of cancer. While there’s no way to completely guarantee that someone will never be diagnosed with cancer, there are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk. One of the best cancer-prevention habits that we recommend to our Costa Mesa walk-in clinic patients is to adopt healthy eating habits. Not only does eating healthfully improve overall health, but some foods are also believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Some of these foods include:
- Grapefruit – Grapefruits are loaded with Vitamin C, which is known to prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrogen compounds in the body. Grapefruit is particularly good at preventing cancers of the breasts, stomach, colon, esophagus, bladder, and cervix. Other Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies can also have the same positive health effects.
- Garlic – Studies by cancer researchers have found that patients who regularly eat garlic may be less likely to develop cancer of the stomach, colon, and esophagus. The same sulfur compounds that give garlic its aroma also help speed up DNA repair, break up cancer-causing compounds in the body, and even kill cancer cells. When adding garlic to a meal, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes after it’s been peeled and chopped. Letting the garlic sit before cooking helps activate the cancer-fighting enzymes and sulfur compounds contained within. Onions, leeks, chives, and other vegetables in the same allium family as garlic have the same cancer-preventing properties.
- Berries – Not only are berries a sweet, healthy treat, they also have loads of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent cancer by stopping the process in the body that creates free radicals, which have been linked to the formation of cancer cells. Similarly, antioxidants can also help prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
- Broccoli – Broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and other members of the cruciferous vegetable family are full of phytochemicals known as glucosinolates, which help produce enzymes like sulforaphane that protect the body from cancer when ingested. These enzymes also exist in the human intestine, and when broccoli is digested and passes through the intestinal track, it activates these compounds in the body. Because sulforaphane detoxifies toxic substances from the body, it helps destroy cancer-creating toxins that may be building up.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes get their red color from a phytochemical known as lycopene, which is a powerful cancer-preventing antioxidant. Lycopene has been found to prevent the development of prostate cancer, and tomatoes are the food in which lycopene is found in its highest concentrations. Cooked or processed tomatoes in particular are believed to have prostate-cancer-preventing abilities. Lycopene can also bee found in watermelons and red bell peppers.
- Carrots – Many people know that carrots are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant compound that can help preserve eyesight. But beta-carotene can also reinforce cells against damage caused by toxins in the body, slow the growth of cancer cells, and help combat HPV (the biggest cause of cervical cancer), in particular. To get the highest amount of beta-carotene, carrots should be steamed or boiled, which released more of their nutrients.
Want to learn more cancer-prevention tips? Contact Xpress Urgent Care at 949-548-8400 today.