Not all health conditions are avoidable, but certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of illness, including diseases such as cancer. These lifestyle choices include smoking, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and eating an unhealthy diet.
Certain foods, often called “superfoods,” have cancer-fighting properties. These superfoods are comprised of antioxidants, healthy fats, a high content of vitamins and minerals, and fiber – elements that are known to have cancer-fighting properties:
There is no single food that will fight cancer alone. The key is to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
So, are you ready to discover foods that can help prevent cancer? Here is what your doctor would tell you:
1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk for many types of cancer. This is true because plant-based foods are rich in nutrients which boost your immune system.
- Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene. These powerful vitamins can defend against cancer and aid the cells in your body with functioning optimally.
- Diets high in fruit may lessen the risk of lung cancer and stomach cancer, among others.
- Veggies high in carotenoids, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots and squash, may decrease the risk of mouth, lung, larynx and pharynx cancers.
- Berries, oranges, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and peas — along with other foods high in vitamin C, such as broccoli and papaya — can fight cancer cells due to their high level of antioxidants.
- Foods high in lycopene, such as guava, watermelon and tomatoes can lessen the risk of prostate cancer.
2. Eat foods high in fiber
Foods high in fiber keep your digestive tract clean and healthy.
Fiber aids in keeping foods moving through your digestive tract, and clears out cancer-causing toxins before they can cause much harm. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- There is no fiber in dairy, sugar, meat or “white” foods such as pastries, white rice and white bread.
- As you eat more fiber, drink plenty of water because fiber absorbs water.
- Eat whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, instead of white breads and rice.
- If you need a snack, popcorn has more fiber and is healthier than chips.
- Bananas, pears and apples are high in fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Baked potatoes, including the skin, are high in fiber.
- Substitute beans, soy and legumes for meat, which are high in fiber.
3. Eat foods with cancer-fighting fats
Eating a diet high in “bad fats” can increase your risk of cancer. However, there are healthy fats that can fight cancer cells. The trick is to choose foods with the healthy fats.
Healthy fats that can help fight cancer
Healthy fats are unsaturated fats that are found naturally from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Furthermore, focus on omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health and heart health, and that battle inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, flaxseeds and salmon.
- Eat fish at least two times per week. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include black cod, herring, sardines and salmon.
- Cook with high-quality olive oil (but don’t let it smoke, which can decrease its nutritional value).
- Add nuts, seeds and avocados to your meals as much as possible.
- Eat more flaxseed, or try flaxseed oil, as well.
Unhealthy fats that can raise cancer risk
The most destructive type of fats are saturated fat and trans fat. While some saturated fats — from eggs and dairy — may have health benefits, unhealthy saturated fats from processed foods, fried foods and fast foods might escalate cancer risk.
- Avoid fast foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats.
- Limit consumption of packaged and processed foods.
- Avoid vegetable oils that are made with the use of high heat and toxins.
- Watch sweets. Not only can they contain unhealthy fats, but are mostly full of empty calories with no nutritional value.
Remember to exercise to keep your body and mind healthy! A healthier body is a natural immune system boost, and can fight off illnesses and diseases much better than a fatigued, out-of-shape body. A healthy mind supports good mental health and a positive outlook that also can aid in fighting off illnesses and diseases.
What foods would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below: