Lifestyle has effects on various aspects of the body, more than one can imagine. The risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and other heart diseases is directly linked with our daily diets and can affect the body drastically.
The development of cancer has been scientifically tested to be heavily influenced by the regular diet. There are food supplements that are beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer in the human body.
Several studies have shown that a higher intake of certain foods could be associated with a lower risk of diseases.
Antioxidants, the game-changer
Ever since the word antioxidants has come into the public eye, with every tv commercial promising reduced aging and healthy body by its mere presence in the products, its cancer-fighting powers have also sprouted a flourishing industry.
A MarketResearch.com report published in 2012 shows U.S. retail sales of foods, beverages, supplements, personal care, and cosmetics featuring antioxidants totaled billions.
Marketing of products like green tea labeled “antioxidant” has been on the rise. However, most people don’t really understand where this word has come from, how antioxidants work, or to what extent they can aid in fighting major disease risks in the human body.
What are antioxidants and their role in curing cancer?
As heard by popular beliefs, antioxidants are present in fruits and vegetables and are proven to be healthy for the body. But, what exactly are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are essential substances that protect the body against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms present in our body which have the capability to damage cells. Antioxidants are themselves linked to these free radicals, which in turn prevent the body cells from being damaged.
The human body generates its own antioxidants. The foods derived from plants and animals, which provide as a rich source of antioxidants, also act as an aid for providing the antioxidant supplement to the body.
Foods for fighting cancer and why
Vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene, which are in many fruits and vegetables, are antioxidants that work against the free radicals and also are important for survival. Studies suggest that people who eat meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cancer.
A variety of chemicals from plants known as phytochemicals also seem to protect cells from harmful compounds in food and in the environment, as well as prevent cell damage and mutations which mark how cruciferous vegetables help protect against disease.
A diet that is required for deflecting cancer and other chronic diseases isn't much different from the food preferred to be eaten on a daily basis to keep the metabolic processes in the body healthy.
Plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts, are healthy for reducing the risk of cancer and body as well. It’s a win-win situation!
Now, after learning what wonders antioxidants can do to the body for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, let's dive right into the nutritional values of the top ten cancer-fighting and antioxidant-loaded supplements according to analyses done over the years:
1. Cruciferous vegetables
There is scientific evidence that cruciferous vegetables offer protection against carcinogens. The compounds found in certain vegetables support the body’s natural detoxification process, helping to rid it of cancerous agents in our food, water, and environment.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower also contain the phytonutrients that are proven to be healthy for the body and have been shown to help prevent the onset and halt the progression of colon, breast, prostate, thyroid, cervical, and other cancers.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which undoubtedly contribute to their healthful effects.
These vegetables also promote healthy metabolic processes in the body multitasking along with neutralizing the daily attack of cancer-causing chemicals present in the surroundings, which makes them a critical component in any disease risk prevention.
Beans are a natural source of antioxidants and contain high fiber. Research on animals shows that regular bean consumption may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Beans’ composition of fiber and important micronutrients and antioxidants ensure that they are an essential part of a healthy diet. Beans contain possible anti-cancer properties for certain types of cancer, such as colorectal, breast, colon, and prostate.
There has been scientific evidence that indicates that common bean consumption is associated with reduced cancer risk in human populations.
However, the current research is limited to animal studies. Furthermore, these studies show an association, not causation. More studies are needed to examine the effect of bean consumption in humans.
There are various berries high in anthocyanins that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
Blueberries, for example, are among the most important sources of antioxidants. They contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
Strawberries, although not technically a berry, are also promising sources of antioxidants and folic acid, replenishing the body with Vitamin C, which is shown to decrease the risk of esophageal cancer. In fact, strawberries prove to be the major sources of vitamin C as compared to any other every-day food.
Garlic is another wonderful cancer-fighting food supplement. It contains an active component called allicin, a compound which has been shown to ward off cancer cells in many scientific studies.
Garlic also contains antibacterial properties as well as the ability to enhance genetic repair, slow down cell proliferation, and prevent the formation of carcinogenic substances in the body.
The health benefits of garlic include its natural antibiotic and antioxidant properties, both of which may help prevent cancer. Benefits have been found with garlic in relation to cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, breast, and prostate. In several studies, garlic consumption has been found to reduce the risk of these cancers in half.
There have been observations that have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancers such as stomach, lung, and prostate.
Incorporating carrots in the daily diet may have contributed to the reduced risk of cancer, studies state.
There have also been examinations indicating a relationship between carrots and reduced risk of breast cancer by its intake. However, these studies only state about how the causes might interrelate but don't point out the other possibilities or consequences that might be faced by the body after the intake.
Cinnamon is famous for how healthy it is for the human body, involving its ability to reduce blood sugar and ease inflammation leading to be an essential part of the diet for the betterment of metabolic processes in the body.
In some test-tube studies, it has been found that along with its capabilities being beneficial to diabetic patients, cinnamon may help halt the spread of cancer cells.
It is known to be loaded with antioxidants, thus making up to the list of superfoods that help in reducing cancer risk.
A natural herb and spice study found that cinnamon extract was able to decrease the spread of cancer cells and even cause cancer cell death.
7. Olive Oil
It's surprising how the olive oil drizzled on salads and vegetables has the caliber to reduce the risk of cancer in the body as well.
As extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, it may help prevent a range of health situations and suppress melanoma, breast, liver, and colon cancer cells, according to the research.
The possibility of a mild but significant decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer through olive oil intake has been pointed out in studies done. Olive oil is loaded with health benefits, so it’s no wonder it’s one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet.
Turmeric is a popular spice used in many parts of the world. It is known to be of ancient importance and is used for medical purposes as well.
There has been research that shows that certain cancers had lowered their rates when there was relatively higher turmeric consumption.
Turmeric is well-known for its health-promoting properties. Several laboratory studies show that curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, is a chemical with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer effects. Curcumin seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It also has effects on bowel cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer cells.
At the moment, there is no clear evidence in humans to show that turmeric or curcumin can prevent or treat cancer.
9. Citrus fruits
It’s obvious by now that the daily diet can affect the risk of developing cancer. Because of this, including healthy foods in daily diets is essential for maintaining the health of the body and keeping it less prone to the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Certain foods, including fruits, contain health-promoting compounds that may slow tumor growth and reduce certain side effects of treatment to help ease the path to recovery.
Eating citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges have been associated with a lower risk of cancer.
In some studies, citrus fruits, belonging to the genus Citrus of the family Rutaceae, contribute to cancer prevention because they are full of vitamin C and another antioxidant, antimutagenic, and antiproliferative constituents.
These studies suggest that including a few servings of citrus fruits in your diet each week may lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including digestive, respiratory, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.
These studies don’t account for other factors that may be involved. More studies are needed on how citrus fruits specifically affect cancer.
Tomatoes can be enjoyed as slices on sandwiches, refreshing sweet bites in salads, and in sauces and soups. The nutritional value that a tomato holds is as diverse as its forms used in.
Research confirms that the antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes, may be more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and vitamin E.
Lycopene is a cancer-fighting substance found in tomatoes associated with protection against certain cancers such as prostate and lung cancer. Cooking tomatoes releases this lycopene, which is beneficial for the body.
The body may absorb lycopene better from processed tomato foods such as sauce, which means that eating pizza or spaghetti could be a delicious way to enjoy this cancer-fighting food.
There are still studies in progress that are looking through the process of cancer reduction risk via diet sources. Most of the studies ensuring these foods contributing to the reduced risk of cancer are tested upon cells or mice.
It must also be noted that no food guarantees protection against cancer completely. The term cancer-fighting foods refer to foods that may lessen the risk of developing cancer if a person includes them in their diet.