Every hour, your body replicates 6 billion cells, creating copies of your DNA. But if you don’t consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that help construct those cells — your body could produce irregular DNA, which can eventually cause cancer.
Recommended here are the top ten cancer fighting foods by Erin Dummert RD, CD, a nationally recognized expert in cancer nutrition, to help stop cancer before it begins.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a plant chemical that has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancer. Tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup are particularly concentrated sources.
Broccoli sprouts are an excellent source of sulforaphane, a plant chemical that may reduce the risk of stomach, breast, and skin cancer. While broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are also great sources of sulforaphane, broccoli sprouts are especially potent.
Berries get their rich color from plant chemicals called anthocyanins. These compounds are potent antioxidants, and protect against a variety of cancers including colon and esophageal.
Isoflavones present in soybeans and other soy foods (such as tofu, soy nuts, and soy milk) help to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer by protecting cells from the harmful effects of estrogen.
Green and black teas are natural sources of catechins, potent antioxidants that act as powerful inhibitors of cancer growth, and may reduce the risk of liver, skin, and stomach cancer. The NCI is currently studying green and black teas for their cancer fighting abilities.
Pumpkin, along with carrots, squash, red and yellow peppers, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of beta carotene. Eaten regularly, these powerhouses help reduce the risk of many types of cancer through their potent antioxidant capacity.
Spinach is known as the “gold standard” of green leafy vegetables. Packed with lutein and vitamin E, both powerful antioxidants, spinach helps ward off cancer of the liver, ovaries, colon, and prostate.
Garlic has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer of the stomach, esophagus, and breast. Mince garlic 10 minutes before cooking to increase its cancer fighting potential.
Pineapple is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. In addition, it contains the enzyme bromelain, which may protect against breast and lung cancer.
In addition to their antioxidant benefits, apples contain the plant chemical quercetin, which has been shown to reduce lung cancer risk and slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Each of these foods has been shown to impact cancer risk on their own. However, countless studies indicate a synergistic effect when eaten together, meaning that plant chemicals work together to produce a greater effect than if they were working alone.