Sorry Paleo enthusiasts! There are no animal products on this list of cancer fighting foods, but this list is just that, a list. It isn’t a dietary plan or specific approach to eating. This posting would be far too long if I attempted to describe all the purported anti-cancer benefits associated with specific diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet, the Paleo Diet, vegetarianism, veganism, etc.
This list is a compilation of several lists from people I respect in the medical world including those of Dr. David Sevran-Schreiber (who survived brain cancer for more than a decade), the ever-popular Dr. Oz, renowned health guru Dr. Andrew Weil and the beloved Dr. Sears, as well as a few amazing cancer fighters, such as Oneanna65.
This list contains only plants. There’s simply too much controversy about the potential cancer-related health benefits of “meat”–with the exception of salmon. However, overwhelming evidence exists showing the ability of plants to lower our risk of getting some cancers and improve our ability to fight cancerous cells.
Plants protect us in a number of ways. They are full of natural plant compounds called phytochemicals. Some of these are antioxidants which protect and repair our DNA. Some appear to control how cancer cells grow or spread. Others simply lower our risk through the fiber they contain as in the instance of colon cancer.
Here’s the list:
Asparagus contains glutathione, a very potent antioxidant, and histones, which studies show control cell growth. Asparagus also contains anti-flammatory saponins, and the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. It’s also high in fiber and an excellent source of Vitamin K.
Preparation: Saute fresh asparagus in a little olive oil, and serve with a light sprinkling of coarse ground sea salt and a drizzle of truffle oil.
Preparation: Mix blueberries into pancake batter, bake them in muffins, blend them in smoothies and use them in fruit salads and for kids’ snacks.
Carrots may reduce your risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Carrots are high in the anti-oxidants beta-carotene and falcarinol which studies suggest may help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer and slow the grow of colon tumors.
Preparation: Toss with olive oil and roast in the oven until carmelized, dip them into hummus as a snack or make a creamy carrot soup.
Beans and peas are rich in fiber which is believed to encourage good bacteria in your colon to produce cancer-fighting compounds as well as help move carcinogens through the colon.
Preparation: Add cooked beans to salads and soups.
Garlic and onions–both are from the allium family of vegetables and are powerful cancer fighting foods. Studies indicate they can stop cancer growth in several areas including the stomach, colon, brain and breast. Onions contain sulfur, which fights cancer and harmful bacteria, and garlic helps protect against infections.
Preparation: Add both chopped into nearly every savory dish you cook! Onions are also excellent sliced thick, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and herbs and grilled on an outdoor grill.
Parsley contains cancer fighting polyacetylenes and flavanoids, which may prevent some cancers.
Preparation: Add fresh parsley to smoothies, juices and savory dishes.
Shitake mushrooms contain lentian, which is approved as a treatment for cancer in Japan. In addition, shitake mushrooms contain a compound, known as 1,3-beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce tumor activity and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment.
Preparation: I serve Shitake mushrooms in pasta sauce for my kids, sliced thin and roasted on top of pizzas and in stir fry dishes.
Preparation: Make gazpacho to celebrate summer or whip up a marinara sauce for pasta or pizza.
Dr. Sears and Dr. Weil are also big proponents of soy, which contains isoflavones, phytonutrients that inhibit tumor growth. Soy has also been shown to protect against colon cancer by blocking the carcinogenic effects of bile acids.
Of course, there are many other fruits and vegetables which contain important nutrients and may help protect us from cancer. However, this is a good basic list to keep handy and think about when you are cooking for yourself, your family and/or your friends.