Top Ten Foods to Fight Cancer
Obviously the best way to save money on healthcare is not to get sick, but there are things we cannot predict and seem to come from nowhere. Unfortunately many illnesses aren’t preventable but there are some cancers and diseases that seem to be exacerbated by what we eat and how we live.
SignatureMD concierge doctors see examples daily of people doing their best to not invite illness into their lives,and have compiled a great list of foods associated with a lower cancer risk that also help ward off obesity, depression and diabetes.
So many of our blogs center on wellness prevention, and for good reason: The preventive care you elect today keeps the doctor away! Save for wellness checkups and baseline tests, our team of excellent physicians want you to have a long life expectancy with a high quality of life that sees you squeeze the most from this mortal coil. Live well, be well and prosper.
SignatureMD has compiled a list of foods associated with a lower risk of getting cancer. While that’s positive news, remember that there are no guarantees. But thinner active people who eat fresh foods tend to feel better, look better, enjoy sex longer and do well overall.
Many causes of cancer are environmental, largely from tobacco, excessive sun exposure and workplace hazards such as chemical solvents and fumes. Avoidance is the best prevention strategy according to our concierge physicians.
Daily, we recommend you include:
1. Wine and/or Grape Juice
Grape juice and Red wine have high concentrations of the chemical resveratrol from the grape skin — this compound can help prevent cancer and improve heart health, at least in moderation.
Excessive alcohol is toxic and associated with liver, breast and stomach cancers. Somewhere there is a balance, though, with resveratrol contributing in some unknown way to suppress metabolites associated with cancer growth. More and more researchers have become comfortable in recent years in recommending a glass of wine a day to prevent cancer and promote a healthier circulatory system.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
George H. W. Bush may have hated broccoli, but he should be eating it. Cruciferous vegetables are those in the mustard or cabbage family, and the list includes broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens and kale. These veggies are loaded with miracle compounds diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and the element selenium.
3. Green Tea
Hot tea washes down grease. Chinese people eat greasy foods but they wash the grease through with hot tea. Try it when you eat a fatty meal, have hot tea, up to a half-gallon of green tea a day, cold or hot. Green tea has epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechins, which whip the tar out of cancer cells. EGCG retards cancer growth. It works. Switch over from coffee drinks. The most potent green tea comes from Japan; and Asian supermarkets carry many varieties, with the best brands being in boxes with letters you can’t read. Note also that black teas lose healthy catechins in the fermentation process; and decaffeinated teas lose catechins in the washing process.
4. Sun and Sardines: Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a proto-hormone that blocks cancer growth. Many studies on humans have shown vitamin D is instrumental in reducing the risk of colon and breast cancer and improving the survival rates of lung cancer. The way to get it is through sunlight or diet. There are few vegetarian sources other than eggs and UV-irradiated mushrooms. Your best bet comes from catfish, salmon, sardines, or mackerel.
Leafy green vegetables, asparagus, beans, peas and lentils are all generally high in folate. B9 or Folate is part of the vitamin B-complex family, which as a whole has cancer-preventive properties. The cancer-folate relationship is complex. People with diets low in folate seem to have higher rates of cancer. Diets high in folate don’t necessarily prevent cancer, but they certainly give you a good chance to fight it off. The lack of folate might enable cancer to get the upper hand, allowing mutations to occur unchecked.
6. Dark Green Vegetables
This category of vegetables overlaps the cruciferous family and includes chard, spinach and beets (by virtue of the leaves, but the red root is healthy, too). These vegetables contain beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin — all powerful antioxidants that can block early cancer development. They are also high in folate. Best yet, Swiss chard in particular is extremely easy to grow in pots. It’s the plant that keeps giving: You can clip off leaves for months upon months as new ones keep shooting up.
7. Spice it: Ginger and Turmeric
Ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can slow cancer growth. Turmeric, the spice that forms the base of most curries, is from a root in the ginger family. The active ingredient is curcumin, which can kill cancer cells quickly, albeit in a test tube. Ginger and turmeric do come in a pill form for the cooking challenged. Better to eat in a meal.
8. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils contain numerous phytochemicals that slow or prevent damage to the DNA, the basis of cancer. The added benefit comes with the fiber, associated with lower risk of digestive cancers such as colon cancer. The tricky part is de-gassing them. Buy some Beano and learn how to to prepare beans that are gas free, first you must stop buying canned beans. Canned beans are cooked in the can, in all of their Raffinosed glory, trapping all of the offending sugar in the can for you to consume, and later, project. To avoid eating these sugars, you must take advantage of the fact that sugar is water soluble, and, that’s right. Soak it out.
For best anti-flatulence results, it’s best to put your beans in a pot and cover them with water overnight, letting them soak with the top on. However, if you’re impatient or simply poorly prepared, you can do a quick soak on beans that will remove sugar almost as effectively as an overnight soak.
To do an overnight soak, place the beans in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. Let the pot boil for two minutes, then turn the heat off. Put a top on the beans and let them soak for at least an hour. After they have soaked, you should notice a frothy substance floating on top of the water. This is, among other things, that raffinose sugar of which we are trying to rid ourselves.
After the pot has soaked for an hour, dump the water out of the pot. You can use a colander if it makes it easier to keep the beans from going into the sink. Pick out anything foreign you see, any twigs or nasty looking beans should be removed. Nasty looking beans can often have nasty things which will also give you bad gas. Rinse the remaining beans.
To cook the beans, put them back in the pot and cover them with water. Don’t add salt until the beans are done cooking.
Women know: Chocolate is magic! Reach for a dark chocolate bar with at least 70-percent cocoa (often spelled cacao), preferably more. The closer to its bitter cacao bean state, the better. One again we see those antioxidants and therapeutic polyphenols and catechins, (also found in tea), that seem to offer protection against heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to studies of South Americans who consume the cocoa bean generously.
Strawberries whiten teeth. Blueberries are magical antioxidant pills from nature. Most berries contain ellagic acid and other polyphenol antioxidants that inhibit tumor growth. Don’t get too caught up in one kind of berry and the “best” polyphenol with a name you can’t pronounce. Focus on a variety of seasonal berries and add them to plain, no-fat high protein Greek yogurt.
Bonus: Daily Drink to add to your Diet
Greek yogurt or Tofu are wonderful bases to mix most of the items mentioned in this anti-cancer food list into a smoothie. You can add flaxseed, wheat germ and vegetables along with berries, kiwis, bananas, peeled carrots or any combination you happen upon. Juicing green veggies with carrots, apples and ginger is brilliant too and a great way to get your superfoods in a fast meal. Invest in a quality mixer like Breville or Vitamix and drink your nutrients!
SignatureMD (signaturemd.com), with offices in Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia, is one of the nation’s largest providers of initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians, with an expanding network of over 160 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 31 states.