An important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is having a well-balanced diet. Getting the right amount of nutrients is essential to keeping a healthy weight, combating fatigue, and avoiding illness. But what about serious illnesses like cancer? Can diet really have an impact on the body’s ability to fight cancer? The answer is yes, it can!
We’re here to tell you about cancer-fighting foods so you can add them to your diet or increase your current intake. We’ll break down what foods fight cancer and why so you can be informed and empowered to make healthy eating choices. We’ll also share with you some potentially dangerous foods that should be avoided to help maintain a healthy diet.
The Top 3 Cancer Crushers
When it comes to adding healthy foods to your diet, there is a wide variety to choose from. But what foods count as cancer-fighting foods specifically? You want to add foods that are rich in three specific cancer crushers: antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and phytochemicals.
Antioxidants help cleanse your body of dangerous cells that have the potential to turn into cancer. They render these dangerous cells ineffective and leave the good cells to fight off illness.
Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation, or swelling, in the body. While some inflammation is the body’s natural response to illness or injury, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health concerns including the formation of tumors that may lead to cancer.
Phytochemicals are found in plants. They are what give plants their bright, vibrant colors. They also give your body a healthy boost when you add them to your diet. Phytochemicals have been shown to benefit the body by boosting the immune system, slowing the growth of cancer cells, destroying damaged cells before they can become cancerous, and helping with hormone regulation.
So how do you add antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and phytochemicals to your diet? Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start! Not only are they packed with the three cancer crushers, but they are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. The American Cancer Society recommends getting 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
The American Institute for Cancer Research lists several foods that fight cancer through antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and phytochemicals. Cancer-fighting fruits and veggies to add to your diet include:
- Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
- Dry Beans and Peas
- Grapes and Grape Juice
Other additions to your diet that also have antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and phytochemicals include:
- Whole Grains
Foods to Avoid
A cancer-fighting diet is not just about what to add. There are also some foods with potentially harmful effects that should be eliminated from your diet. These include foods that cause inflammation and have excess sugar and sodium.
Some examples of foods to avoid include:
- Fried foods
- Red meat
- Refined carbohydrates like white bread and pastries
- Sugary beverages like soda
You should also be cautious of processed foods. Not only are they usually packed with sugar and sodium, but, according to The British Medical Journal, they have also been shown to cause an increased risk of cancer. Processed foods are foods that are pre-packaged and ready to be eaten. They include a lot of microwavable foods and instant meals like frozen dinners. The convenience of processed foods can sometimes make it easy to avoid eye contact with the nutrition label. But try to make it a habit to at least scan for the sodium and sugar content before making the purchase.
The next time you hit the grocery store, keep this list of cancer-fighting foods in mind. Also make it a point to try some alternatives to any processed foods you usually grab. Opt for a bowl of fruit instead of potato chips or a fresh salad instead of a microwave meal. By adding more healthy foods to your diet and eliminating the potentially dangerous ones, you might see some quick results like weight loss and healthy, glowing skin. But more importantly, you might be protecting yourself from potentially dangerous long-term results, like the development of cancer.