Top 10 Cancer Super Foods

Superfoods are the new ‘magic potion’ for practically all diseases – especially cancer. Certain types of cancer have lifestyle causes like unhealthy eating, being overweight/obese, and substance abuse like alcohol and cigarette smoking. Incorporating healthy eating habits like including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, exercising and managing stress can help in preventing a whole lot of diseases, including cancer.

So the next question is what are the Cancer superfoods that should go in a ‘healthy diet’ to prevent or also fight cancer and why ?

If only there was a simple, methodical answer to this million dollar question, life would have been so much easy.

Although there are many cancer superfoods, it does not translate into the fact that if one consumes these – he or she will be cancer-free for life or can never have cancer. Medicine is much more complicated than it seems.

Having said all this, consuming Cancer superfoods do have their set of health benefits.

Let us walk through them

  1. Cruciferous vegetables : Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower contain sulforaphane – a substance that shown to have anti-cancer properties. However, the studies are observational and test-tube confined. Despite this, it is recommended to include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli in a diet of a person fighting cancer.
  2. Berries : Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries are known to contain compounds called anthocyanins that are basically plant pigments that contain anti-oxidant functions. Including few servings of berries in a day can help in reducing cancer risk – with limited human studies.
  3. Nuts and seeds : Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds are loaded with Zinc and Vitamin E – both of which boost immunity and have anti-oxidant functions.
  4. Turmeric : The benefits of turmeric are well known by now. Curcumin – the active compound in turmeric has multiple functions – anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and immunity boosting. Although like all superfoods, the research is limited to test-tube studies, turmeric is a part of ancient medicine and has health benefits.
  5. Cinnamon : This super spice, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A small quantity of cinnamon in every day’s diet is beneficial for people with cancer or any other co-morbidities.
  6. Tomatoes : The compound called ‘lycopene’ found in tomatoes gives tomato its rich red colour, along with some extra perks of anticancer functions. Few studies have shown beneficial effects of consuming raw tomatoes on prostate cancer, although more extensive studies are required.
  7. Citrus fruits : Fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, have high content of Vitamin C – the most powerful antioxidants amongst all the vitamins. Consuming 3 to 4 servings of citrus fruits per week has numerous health advantages, more so for people with cancer.
  8. Garlic : Lab tested research has suggested that ‘Allicin’ – the active substance in garlic can destroy some types of cancer cells like colorectal cancers, stomach and lung cancers. Consuming one clove of fresh garlic every day has health promoting functions for a variety of conditions, including cancer.
  9. Green tea : Green tea, apart for being famous for ‘fat-loss’, is also known for its anti-oxidant substances called catechins, that help in reducing the growth of cancer cells- as per some laboratory studies. Consuming purely sourced, natural green tea once a day may prove to be beneficial.
  10. Whole grains and legumes : Legumes and whole grains like millets, beans are rich in fiber that are protective against colorectal cancers. Apart from this, they also contain B complex vitamins like folic acid; zinc that have immune functions.

These are just 10 out of the many listed superfoods for cancer. They fall into this category due to the active compounds they contain which have been lab tested or animal tested. Until the present day, human studies are lacking for foods to be labelled as superfoods for cancer.

However, incorporating these foods as a part of a diet for people with cancer does more good than harm. These ‘magic potions’ may not completely cure cancer, but at least promise to help maintain good health and nutrition – which is the key in cancer treatment !