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Foods Associated with a Lower Cancer Risk
The countless books and news articles about cancer-fighting foods might lead you to think you can ward off this dreaded disease simply by eating better.
Alas, it's not that simple. Anytime you see a headline stating "Cure cancer naturally," you should run. Running, in fact, will be more beneficial to your health than whatever that news article is pushing.
There are foods associated with a lower risk of getting cancer. While that's positive news, remember that this is based merely on what goes on in Petri dishes and in mice and in human epidemiology studies revealing, largely in retrospect, that people who ate A, B and C for "x" years had a y-percent reduction in a cancer risk compared with a bunch of slackers who did nothing to stay healthy.
So, there are no guarantees. Consider that among the leading proponents of the macrobiotic diet — the grain- and vegetable-based diet purported to cure cancer — Aveline Kushi and her daughter Lilly died of cancer, Michio Kushi had a tumor removed from his intestine, and founder George Ohsawa died at the relatively young age of 73, likely of a heart attack.
Many causes of cancer are environmental, largely from tobacco, excessive sun exposure and workplace hazards such as chemical solvents and fumes. Avoidance is the best prevention strategy here.
Aside from that, if you want the odds on your side, the foods in this list do seem to carry some cancer-protection properties.
WineSlide 2 of 23
Wine — and, in particular, red wine with its high concentration of the chemical resveratrol from the grape skin — is anti-cancer and pro-heart, at least in moderation. Alcohol can be toxic and is associated with liver, breast and stomach cancers. Somewhere there is a balance, though, with resveratrol contributing in some unknown way to suppress metabolites associated with cancer growth. More and more researchers have become comfortable in recent years in recommending a glass of wine a day to prevent cancer and promote a healthier circulatory system. If the concept of wine seems too radical to include on a list of anti-cancer foods, consider having that wine with an Italian pasta meal with tomato sauce (high in lycopene, somewhat associated with cancer prevention), sardines and a dark leafy green salad (high on the anti-cancer food list).Slide 3 of 23
Cruciferous VegetablesSlide 4 of 23
Cruciferous vegetables are those in the mustard or cabbage family, and the list is exhaustive. Unfortunately, most U.S. markets only carry a few: cabbage, broccoli, kale and collards. Step into a good Asian market for an entire aisle of offerings. These vegetables, in varying degrees, are rich in anti-cancer properties such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and the element selenium. The punch comes with the crunch: Chewing, more so than subsequent digestion, releases these chemicals. Thus, it is important not to overcook these greens. Even tough collards, if fresh, can be chopped thin and pan-fried in a few minutes, as opposed to the traditional southern methods of boiling the hell out of these.Slide 5 of 23
Green TeaSlide 6 of 23
Start drinking up to a half-gallon of green tea a day, cold or hot, caffeine be damned. (Tea only has a third of the caffeine found in most coffee.) Green tea has epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechins, as tough on cancer cells as they are on the tongue to pronounce. EGCG retards cancer growth; and stomach and lung cancer rates in Japan would likely be even higher considering all the cancer-promoting salty food and tobacco there.
Note that in the United States it is extremely difficult to get real green tea. What you are buying is green tea drink (sugar, water, and someone whispering the words "green tea" over the bottle) or green tea mix (a blend of teas to ease that natural bitterness of green tea). The most potent green tea comes from Japan; and Asian supermarkets carry many varieties, with the best brands being in boxes with letters you can't read. Note also that black teas lose healthy catechins in the fermentation process; and decaffeinated teas lose catechins in the washing process.Slide 7 of 23
Vitamin DSlide 8 of 23