What are the best foods to eat to fight cancer? Here are our top 7 cancer fighting foods everyone can enjoy…
Food is the best medicine – an ethos we at CamWell fully believe in. So much of what we put into our bodies can directly impact how strongly we fight against cancer.
It’s no secret that you can’t out-work a bad diet, and that’s never been truer than when it comes to your overall health – and, specifically, foods to eat that fight cancer cells. Think of your body as a finely tuned machine that requires the correct fuel to function at its highest level – and food is the fuel that powers you towards optimal health.
As we believe food is the best medicine, we’ve trudged through the piles of information out there to deliver only the seven best cancer fighting foods you should be working into your diet. Many of these can be eaten on their own, or worked into a delicious recipe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Does My Diet Really Make a Difference in Fighting Cancer?
Let’s bottom line this one for you – OF COURSE!
While there’s no one single food or food ingredient that can protect you against cancer cells by itself, there are plenty of options to help lower your risk and fight already existing cancers. In a general sense, most doctors and scientists agree that a diet filled with a good variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes, and other plant-based foods will be your strongest ally to fight cancer.
These groups of foods work together to offer strong cancer protection, mainly through their synergy of ingredients. Individual minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals demonstrate strong anti-cancer effects (more on that later) – but most of all, these foods are whole, hearty, and healthy for the body.
By working these cancer fighting food groups into an existing diet, or making a significant lifestyle change to adhere by their guidelines, you’ll find yourself eating a healthier diet by default. The big impact here? A higher quality of health – something of the utmost importance considering excess body fat can increase the risk of 12 different types of cancer.
With all that being said, it’s time to take a look at the seven best cancer fighting foods!
1. Apples as a Cancer Fighting Food
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
We’re here to tell you that the old adage our parents used to repeat to us is more than just a clever anecdote – there’s a lot of truth behind it!
First and foremost, apples are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Aside from that though, apples pack a powerful punch of antioxidant power, with most of it coming from phytochemicals. The most well known of the bunch is Quercetin – a flavonoid that shows anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These make it one of the easiest and best foods to fight cancer cells.
Polyphenols, plant-based compounds found in apples, also play a key role in preventing inflammation and infection – and research has shown that polyphenols also display cancer-fighting properties.
In fact, a 2018 study from the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis suggests the polyphenol phloretin substantially impacted the growth of breast cancer cells in patients.
2. Blueberries Can Help Fight Cancer Cells
Much like Violet from Willy Wonka, you’ll want to take in enough blueberries to basically turn you into one yourself!
Blueberries are chock full of antioxidant properties, in addition to a mountain of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. These tasty but tiny berries pack a punch – they’re an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and are absolutely loaded with phytochemicals.
In this case, we’re specifically talking about anthocyanins, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol and other flavonoids – as well as ellagitannins and ellagic acid, and pterostilbene and resveratrol.
If those tongue-twisters have you confused, we’ll go ahead and bottom line the effectiveness of blueberries for you – studies show that the anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries were able to prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice. Add blueberries to your list of yummy cancer fighting foods that you’ll actually enjoy eating.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables: a Powerful Food Ally Against Cancer
There’s a reason your mother always nagged you about eating your broccoli.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are formidable foes against many different types of cancer. Nearly all of them are excellent sources of vitamin C (noticing a trend here?) and some are good sources of manganese.
The key to cruciferous veggies though, lies in sulforaphane, a plant compound with anticancer properties.
Sulforaphane has been shown through numerous studies to be an effective agent in certain aspects of cancer-fighting within foods. One study shows the effectiveness of the compound in inhibiting cancer cell growth and stimulating cell death in colon cancer cells. Another study shows sulforaphane also inhibits histone deacetylase, an enzyme with links to cancer development.
4. Carrots: A Common Yet Great Cancer Fighting Food
People have been eating carrots for over 5,000 years, so it’s no wonder they’re among the most popular vegetables worldwide. But did you know carrots also serve as a glowing orange sword against cancer?
We’re not being dramatic either – carrots are absolutely bursting with vitamin A and vitamin K, in addition to being loaded with fiber.
The phytochemicals contained in carrots, though, are really where the magic happens. Specifically, beta-carotene (the whole reason your carrots are orange, by the way) and alpha-carotene are powerful agents our bodies convert to vitamin A, which is important for immune function and maintaining healthy cells.
Studies show that beta-carotene can be linked to a reduction in the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, and another study shows that high consumption of carrots results in a 26 percent lower chance of developing stomach cancer.
Needless to say – load up on your carrots as a food to fight cancer cells!
5. Walnuts: A Lesser Known Cancer Fighting Food
Who doesn’t enjoy a good walnut? These delicious nuts work well in plenty of different recipes, but are tasty as a standalone snack too!
Generally speaking, all nuts exhibit some type of cancer-fighting properties according to the American Institute for Cancer Research – but walnuts have been studied more than any other nuts, and the results have been promising.
Walnuts contain very high amounts of polyphenols (remember them?), and are absolutely loaded with a vast array of protective compounds – including alpha-linolenic acid, a powerful omega-3 fatty acid.
A study showed that mice receiving whole walnuts and walnut oil had higher levels of tumor-suppressing genes than mice receiving vegetable oil.
6. Garlic: Add to Your Meals Whenever You Can
If you plan on utilizing this cancer-fighting superfood, it may be best to keep some gum handy. Otherwise, garlic is delicious in pretty much every dish you can imagine!
Besides adding a kick to any meal, garlic packs a big time, cancer-fighting punch in a small serving – in fact, the serving size is only one teaspoon, but it’s chock full of goodness.
Garlic contains flavonoids, much like apples and carrots, which have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties. The allyl compounds contained in garlic are responsible for giving it the stench and flavor we’ve all grown accustomed to, but these same compounds come with their share of benefits too – including decreasing inflammation and possessing antimicrobial properties.
7. Dark, Green, Leafy Vegetables: Our Top Pick in the Fight Against Cancer Cells
We know you’ve probably had your fill of vegetables by this point (literally and figuratively, hopefully) – but pay attention because these are some of the most important ingredients yet!
Dark, leafy greens are maxed out with fiber, folate, and flavonoids (there’s that word again) that helps maintain healthy body fat levels and have anti-cancer properties.
These greens, including spinach, kale, and swiss chard, also contain a wide range of carotenoids. Carotenoids are believed by researchers to have much of the same cancer-fighting properties as antioxidants – in fact, the two work in similar ways, eliminating potential free radicals from the body before they can harm you.
In addition to this, the American Institute for Cancer Research completed a comprehensive review of decades of cancer research. This review concluded that there is strong evidence to support the idea that foods containing dietary fiber decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, and a diet high in non-starchy vegetables along with fruits decreases the risk of lips, mouth, tongue and other aerodigestive cancers.
It’s pretty clear that food is indeed the best medicine and you certainly are what you eat. Making conscientious diet choices can go a long way in greatly reducing your risk of cancer and its treatment. It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle – begin your journey by adding these best cancer fighting foods to your diet today!
Before You Go: Do you know someone already fighting cancer who is dealing with the challenging side effects of treatment? We can help. Direct them to our very popular & natural moisturizer lotion for chemo, or our botanical skin cream to help with skin burns associated with radiation treatment. Our mission is to help cancer survivors and patients thrive, and live a comfortable and victorious life. Thanks for sharing our message.