Certain foods seem to have anticancer properties and it is only recently that scientific tools have advanced to the point that we can understand at the molecular level why.
Take the case of the cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower. “Scientists have shown that when these vegetables are ingested, they break down into chemicals such as indoles that actually help repair damaged DNA and also help reduce inflammation,” according to Laura Goetz, MD, a Scripps Clinic surgeon. “DNA damage and inflammation are key steps in triggering cancer.”
These eight foods are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients and have a number of health benefits.
Look for lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish to get the benefits of the protein while avoiding the cancer risk of red meats.
Low-fat organic yogurt and kefir (make sure there’s no added sugar) contain probiotics that fight inflammation.
Rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, fruit can help you keep off excess weight — an effective way to ward off cancer — and reduce inflammation.
Chia seeds contain a multitude of nutrients, calcium, iron, and magnesium among them, plus omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. One cup of kale has a fifth of your daily recommended vitamins A and C.
Give quinoa a try. The South American food packs double the protein of oats, plus antioxidants, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals.
Legumes are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and because of their high protein content, can serve as a low-fat, low-calorie meat substitute.
Though high in calories, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, believed to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol.
This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.