Hello, Health

Simple cancer-killing foods you must eat every day

You can't fight your genes but putting more of some specific stuff on your plate can help you big time.

 |  Hello, Health  |  3-minute read |   30-05-2016
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Can cancer be prevented? Research seems to think so.

Any headline that screams cancer catches our attention big time. The kind of dread this disease creates within us is unparalleled. That's why recent reports proclaiming bread as a common culprit shook us hard.

But the fact is that over the years almost everything we eat (these days) has already been blamed in some way or the other for cancer's rising numbers (an epidemic now almost).

On the other hand, there is the biggest bummer of all: the idea that you can't really escape cancer, if it is in your genes.

course-breads-whole-_053016120524.jpg Recently, bread came under scanner for containing cancer-causing additives like potassium bromate. 

So what does one do? Leave it to fate (and genes)? Or tame our lifestyle and environment very strictly to keep cancer at bay. Well, a report published in the beginning of this year in a journal I hold in very high esteem, Nature strongly supports the latter.

Putting to rest the "bad luck" hypothesis it states that cancer mostly results from "extrinsic factors," like our behaviours (lifestyle) and exposures (environment), rather than just the mess up of our chromosomes (genes) - and that our genes contribute only modestly (less than 10-30 per cent of lifetime risk) to cancer development. 

Basically, this study has yet again brought forth the common sense rule about "nurture being very important" - and the fact that choices we make are ultimately secondary to the choices we have (or are born with). Yes, even in the case of cancer apparently.

So how can we prevent cancer?

Managing stress, keeping exposure to pesticides and pollution minimum, detoxing the liver regularly and keeping inflammation level in the body low are some ways to do this. Putting more of some specific foods on our plate can also help big time.

Nutrients to plate

Amygdalin, also called vitamin B17 is a plant substance that's a bit bitter in taste but is apparently a big cancer slayer. Include these in your diet regularly to score enough of it: kernels of apricots and peaches.

fun-facts-of-apricot_053016120240.jpg Apricots.

These are hidden inside the seeds; next time you eat a peach or an apricot, crack open the pit and inside you will find the kernel. You can either eat them as is, or just grind them up and add them to smoothies, soups and salads. B17 is actually present in most fruit seeds including apples, cherries, nectarines, pears, plums, etc.

So maybe eating that apple whole with seeds and peels is a great cancer preventing idea.

blackberries_3821343_053016120301.jpg Blackberries.

B17 is also found in slightly bitter almonds, celery, carrots, berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries), most beans and legumes (sprouting enhances the content), seeds (flax, chia and sesame), grains like sorghum and buckwheat and grasses like sprouted alfalfa and wheat grass.

cranberries_053016120322.jpg Cranberries.

Cranberries also contain benzoic acid, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of lung cancer, colon cancer, and some forms of leukemia.

The already well known carotenoids (for eye health) found in pumpkins, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes also pack a cancer-fighting punch.

24-amazing-benefits-_053016120338.jpg Carrots.

Kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are rich in phytonutrients called indoles, which stimulate liver detoxification and help fight cancer. These cruciferous vegetables also help minimise the production of "bad estrogen," a player in breast cancer.

the-benefits-of-cabb_053016120419.jpg Cabbage.

Finally an overload of vitamin C helps. It is a potent antioxidant; it interacts with metals in the body to create hydrogen peroxide that goes on to kill cancer cells by shutting down their energy supply.

Make sure you eat two vitamin C rich sources every day.


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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