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5 Wholesome Food Choices Shown to Fight Cancer

Certain types of cancers can be prevented through proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. The American Cancer Association highlights the World Cancer Research Fund, who states one-third of cancer diagnosis in the US is related to obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and/or poor nutrition. Predisposing factors as those listed above can be prevented by maintaining an active lifestyle (according to your health needs), and by consuming wholesome foods that contribute to the prevention of cancer.

 “Does cancer really affect that many people?”

The American Cancer Society comments as follows:

In 2014, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.

Individuals can be active participants in the prevention of cancer. Proactive prevention measures include early screening and treatment options, scheduling routine check-ups, maintaining an active lifestyle, refraining from carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents, and keeping a healthy diet that incorporates cancer-fighting food choices.

 These are 5 Must-Have Cancer Fighting Foods:

1. Berries: These fruits are high in antioxidants and contain properties to help fight diseases. Antioxidants protect healthy cells from harmful effects of free radicals, which can lead to cancer. As stated in WebMD, “In a recent study, berry extracts slowed the growth of cancer cells; specifically, strawberry and black raspberry extracts had the greatest impact on colon cancer cells.” WebMD also mentions that based on research done by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating berries may decrease the risk of lung, mouth, esophagus, and stomach cancers.

Examples of berries: Blueberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. 

2. Cruciferous Vegetables: These veggies contain phytochemicals (glucosinolates) that produce protective enzymes such as sulforaphane, which is being studied for its cancer prevention properties. WebMD shares the following; “Broccoli and its cousins are most protective against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, according to a review of hundreds of clinical studies conducted for the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.” Keep in mind, patients taking certain medications may not benefit from eating high amounts of broccoli. For example, clients on Coumadin (a blood thinner medication to prevent clots) are advised to refrain from foods high in vitamin K. These individuals should consult with their physician before incorporating broccoli as one of their cancer-fighting foods.

 Examples: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale.

3. Garlic: This vegetable has lots of nutritional properties! The National Cancer Institute shares how garlic is uniquely high in sulfur content, and other wholesome properties like arginine, flavonoids, and selenium. Supplemental forms of garlic can be found in the form of oil (soft gel capsules) powder (food condiments), and extract. The National Cancer Institute goes on to mention several studies associating increased garlic intake with the reduction of certain cancers like stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast cancer. A general guideline for garlic intake is 2-5g or 1 clove of fresh garlic per day. Visit the National Cancer Institute to learn more on the cancer-fighting properties of garlic. 

4. Tomatoes: A lycopene-rich food associated with prevention of prostate cancer. Lycopene is a phytochemical and powerful antioxidant that protects against the damaging effects of free radicals, and boosts the immune system.

WebMD comments on other types of cancer prevention benefits of lycopene noting:

In laboratory tests, lycopene has stopped other types of cancer cells from growing, including breast, lung, and endometrial (in the lining of the uterus). Researchers speculate that lycopene protects cells from damage that could lead to cancer by boosting the immune system. And they suspect lycopene stops the growth of tumors by interfering with abnormal cell growth, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

5. Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach and other green leafy veggies are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that rid the body from free radicals. According to WebMD, some studies suggest that carotenoids found in green leafy veggies can reduce the risk of ovarian, endometrial, lung, and colorectal cancer, as well as cancers in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach.

 Examples of green leafy veggies: Spinach and bok choy.

 Before heading out to the grocery store, here’s a shopping list by The American Cancer Association on must-have foods for a healthy kitchen:

1. Black, pinto, lentils, and kidney beans

2. Brown rice and rice mixes

3. Pastas, noodles, and crackers made of whole-wheat.

4. Fruits and vegetables

5. Onion, garlic, and green peppers

6. Reduced-fat cheeses, milk, and yogurts

7. Chicken breast, ground turkey, and extra-lean burgers.

8. Salmon, red snapper, and cod fish

9. Olive, canola, and peanut oil

10. Applesauce and cranberries

 Ready to Take the Next Step? Here are Some Meal Planning Ideas:

 The MD Anderson Center developed multi-cultural food plate ideas using choosemyplate.gov as a dietary reference. Examples of cancer-fighting foods are listed for each food group: fruit, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Each food group outlines food choices, serving sizes, and caloric intake per serving size. The worksheet also contains a sample recipe for each ethnic meal plan.

Click each name below to view a sample meal plan for each the following cultural groups:

1. African American food plate

2. Hispanic food plate

3. Vietnamese food plate 

 

Reference:

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2014. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/webcontent/acspc-042151.pdf 

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions. 

 

 

 

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.


For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at: nurseyenny@gmail.com    


 


 


 

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