When it comes to our diet, we tend to focus on eating foods that help us lose weight or keep us full throughout the day. However, the food we eat can also have benefits that extend beyond our waistline: certain foods contain nutrients that can help fight off diseases, including cancer. Including these foods in your diet is an important part of protecting yourself against the deadly disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, a poor diet and not being active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. To help keep yourself as healthy as possible, try incorporating these seven cancer-fighting foods into your diet.
Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene that intercepts cancer’s ability to make the connections it needs to attach to a healthy blood supply, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Lycopene becomes most readily available when tomatoes are cooked and eaten with a healthy fat such as avocado or olive oil, which help increase absorption.
Studies show that a higher intake of garlic is linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas and breast, according to the National Cancer Institute. The pungent plant can help kill off cancer cells as well as slow tumor growth, so try to eat at least one to two fresh garlic cloves a day.
In addition to being sweet, tasty treats, berries contain antioxidants that help prevent cell damage, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Be sure to include nutrient-rich options such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries in your diet four to five times per week.
4. Leafy Greens
Vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens contain nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein that block early stages of the development of cancer. These greens also contain folate, which can help fight against cancers of the breast, colon, cervix and lung.
5. Green Tea
This type of tea contains a type of antioxidant called catechins, which can slow down or even prevent cancer development in cells, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. In places like Asia where green tea consumption is high, the risk for bladder, colon, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal cancers is lower.
A study from Harvard University found that eating a daily bowl of quinoa can reduce your risk of death from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes by 17 percent. Any whole grains can help lower your risk of cancer, so swap out that white pasta for some brown rice instead.
Turmeric, one of the spices found in curry, contains a compound called curcumin that has been found to stop the precancerous changes in organs that could become cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. Additionally, in countries where curcumin consumption is high, rates of cancer are lower.
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