Certain foods seem to have anti-cancer properties, but it is only recently that scientific tools have advanced to the point that we are starting to learn at the molecular level why.
Take the case of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. “Scientists have shown that when these vegetables are ingested, they break down into small molecules, called indoles, that may interfere with a cancer cell’s metabolism,” says Wesleigh Edwards, MD, PhD, an oncologist at Scripps Cancer Center and Scripps Clinic. “This ultimately may help to prevent cancer cell replication and growth, and is a very exciting area of ongoing research in cancer prevention.”
These eight foods are rich in nutrients, have a number of health benefits, and may also have cancer-preventing properties.
Look for lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish to get the benefits of the protein while avoiding the cancer risk of red meats. Eating fish is considered part of a healthy eating pattern. Choose fish that are low in mercury.
Though high in calories, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that is believed to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol.
Dark leafy greens, including kale, broccoli, spinach and collard greens are high in antioxidants and provide superfood nutrition.
One cup of kale has a fifth of your daily recommended vitamins A and C.
Whole grains are more nutritious than refined or processed grains and are associated with reducing the risk of cancer. Give quinoa a try. It packs double the protein of oats, plus antioxidants, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
Legumes are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Because of their high protein content, they can serve as a low-fat, nutrient-dense meat substitute.
Eating too much red meat can raise the risk of certain cancers and other illnesses.
Rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, fruit can help keep off excess weight — which can help ward off cancer — and reduce inflammation.
Some fruits are considered superfoods because they are high in vitamins and minerals. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, which help fight colon and prostate cancer.