Cancer. It’s one word that strikes fear into the hearts of most people. It can cause you to totally re-think your whole life. Empowering yourself with a plan of action will go a long way towards your health, wellness and mindset. If your lifestyle and diet need an overhaul, now is the time to make some drastic changes.
Foods have the power to strengthen our immune system to fight cancer, increase antioxidants in our body to protect our cells’ DNA and prevent cancer—all the while adding to our overall health. Our bodies have a natural tendency to want to heal, but we must help our bodies return to a point where they are able to fight off disease. We can do this by eliminating cancer-causing foods and toxins, and creating a diet of healthful, cancer-fighting, immune-strengthening foods.
Whether you choose to undergo conventional cancer treatments or decide to follow a more natural route, these tips on cancer fighting foods will help you fight cancer and get back on the road to health.
While conventional medicine downplays the importance of diet and lifestyle changes, it is necessary for you to realize that both your diet and lifestyle are of utmost importance!
The best start is by removing and detoxifying the body from those foods and toxins that are feeding and encouraging cancer, oxidation, and a weakened immune system, and then begin rebuilding the body’s cells—from the ground up—so to speak with super healthy foods that fight cancer.
Starve the Cancer
Adopt a ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets have been scientifically proven to improve cancer recovery and to have a proven ‘anti-tumor’ effect on cancer cells. A ketogenic diet is a very low carb, lower protein and higher fat diet. Keto diets help to turn the body’s ‘fat burning’ mechanism on, while keeping blood sugar and insulin very low. When the body is able to efficiently break down fat, or ketones as they are called, in the body to use as fuel, the body is ‘fat-adapted’. Cancer cells primarily use glucose as their fuel, and cannot utilize ketone bodies, so they essentially starve and die on this type of diet.
Besides the keto diet’s ability to lower blood sugar and insulin and to burn fat for fuel, this diet is also known in health circles as having some very health-protective benefits. For one, it starves cancer cells, and as we know, this is super important, so it is well worth it to make some major dietary changes. This diet also helps reduce inflammation, another health issue tied to cancer.
The best way to prepare the body for a keto diet is to adopt an intermittent fasting routine. This allows the body to fast for periods of 12-16 hours or more, and helps to begin the fat adaption process.
Contrary to what many of us believe, our bodies do not just fight cancer when we actually have a cancer diagnosis. Cancer takes years to grow in our bodies, and we are actually fighting and killing off cancer cells on a daily basis! So, eating foods that fight cancer is extremely important on a daily basis as well—whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or not.
Says Ty Bollinger, from TheTruthAboutCancer.com website,
“New studies focused on the benefits of using food as medicine have made fascinating discoveries in the last decade. The results from prestigious labs all over the world show us that not only can you improve your general health to prevent disease… you can actively fight disease… with food.”
Yes, in fact, there are foods that specifically target cancer cells, all the while benefiting and strengthening the healthy cells in your body. There are foods available right at your local health food store or farmer’s market that will help you fight and destroy these invading cells.
This article will help you uncover those foods that will help you to:
- Detoxify your body
- Strengthen the immune system and repair cells’ DNA
- Actually kill cancer cells and stop its spread
Top Ten Cancer Fighting Foods
The #1 most powerful anti-cancer food is garlic. Garlic, especially raw garlic, along with its other close relatives in the allium family including onions, leeks and shallots are some of the most powerful cancer-fighting foods. Garlic and the rest of the allium family contain very powerful antioxidants like allicin that remove free radicals from the body. Garlic is also valuable as an immune booster, is anti-inflammatory, lowers blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and detoxifies.
There are several studies that show an increased intake of garlic with a reduced risk of certain cancers, especially cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. Other cancers that garlic and onions fight include oral, ovarian, endometrial, kidney, and laryngeal cancers.
The cancer-fighting effects of garlic may be related to its antibacterial properties, or its ability to fight cancer-causing substances, help repair DNA, reduce cell reproduction or induce cell death.
2. Broccoli, Broccoli Sprouts and other Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli is related to the whole cruciferous cancer-fighting vegetable family that includes cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. Broccoli and its cruciferous cousins have proven effective against many cancers, especially breast, cervical, gastric, prostate and liver cancers.
Broccoli is also super high in powerful phytochemicals and the antioxidants glucoraphanin and indole-3-carbinol, which are proven cancer-fighting weapons, which have selective toxicity against cancerous cells, while strengthening the body’s healthy cells.
Cruciferous vegetables are known to be powerful cancer killers and many are rich in glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant” because of its powerful free-radical-scavenging abilities. Most all of the cruciferous vegetables are nutrient-dense sources of a family of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that are linked to cancer prevention.
Broccoli sprouts actually contain some of the highest levels of cancer fighting compounds. Numerous studies have shown the highest cancer protective properties tend to be concentrated in the sprouts about 3 days after sprouted. Broccoli is also naturally anti-inflammatory, good for the bones and the heart, and nutrient dense, so it benefits overall health as well.
3. Green Tea
Green tea contains some uniquely powerful antioxidants called ‘catechins’ that are strong free-radical fighters and have been shown in lab studies to actually kill or inhibit the growth of existing cancers and shrink tumors. Green tea’s two main anticancer compounds, EGCG and quercetin are powerful weapons in a fight against many types of cancers.
Additionally, green tea helps to promote the production of the antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD) which drastically lower inflammation in the body. As an added benefit, green tea also reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure.
4. Leafy Green Veggies
Leafy greens are one of the most important parts of any healthy diet since they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other necessary phytochemicals. Leafy greens, especially bitter greens, like arugula, watercress, kale, collards, mustard greens, and more, are badass fighters in the war against cancer.
Many of these greens—mustard, collards, kale, arugula and more are actually part of the cruciferous veggie family, so they contain the same cancer-fighting compounds as their cousins. Leafy greens are high in vitamin C, methylfolate (an absorbable type of folic acid), and betacarotene—all powerful antioxidants.
Leafy greens are also sources of glucosinolates, which gives them effective antibacterial and antiviral properties, detox the body of carcinogenic substances, reprogram cancer cells to die, and prevent tumor formation and metastasis. These natural chemicals are activated during chewing and digestion into biologically active cancer-killing compounds such as indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates.
Ginger is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory cancer-fighting foods you can find! Ginger is known to actually shrink tumors and destroy cancer stem cells, as effectively as some chemotherapy medications. However, ginger has the ability to protect healthy cells while killing cancer stem cells.
Ginger contains a powerful compound, 6-shogaol, that is highly effective in killing cancer stem cells in breast cancer, according to a study done in 2015. Shogaol was compared to the chemotherapy drug, Taxol, and curcumin from turmeric. The compound found in ginger was found to be the most effective, especially against cancer stem cells. Taxol could not match the activity of the shogaol in ginger even at a 10,000X increase!
Ginger extracts have been shown in scientific studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor effects on human cells and cancer cells. Because ginger has such a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on cells, reducing key inflammatory indicators also reduced chances of cancer development, in addition to ginger’s tumor-shrinking capabilities.
Ginger’s anti-nausea action is also very valuable to prevent nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy from standard cancer treatments.
The super-food turmeric has been valued as far back as 3,000 BC and is one of the most important anti-cancer nutrients studied today. Curcumin is the yellow pigment that comes from turmeric and is one of three known active ingredients in turmeric. Curcumin has demonstrated incredible anti-cancer benefits. In countries where people eat turmeric daily as a part of their diet, research shows lower rates of many types of cancers.
Over 2,000 researched studies have been published that show curcumin combats cancers of the breast, prostate, liver, colon, lung, pancreas and more. Many of these studies have shown curcumin actually stops cancer cells from multiplying and brings about cancer cell death. Curcumin’s ability to fight cancer is superior to many chemotherapy drugs because it selectively kills cancer stem cells, leaving healthy cells intact.
Curcumin is currently being tested in several clinical trials to treat cancer, including prostate, breast, colon and osteosarcoma. Curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through several totally different mechanisms. Because of the varied way curcumin can cause cancer cell death, cancer cells are not likely to develop resistance to curcumin, unlike many chemotherapy drugs.
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries all over the world to fight cancer and enhance or modulate immune response. These mushrooms include shitake, reishi, maitake, mannentake, and cordyceps. Research has indicated these varieties of mushrooms have unique anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and liver protective activities.
Reishi mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for cancer treatments for many years. Reishi is also said to improve well being, strength and enhance health. Reishi mushrooms stimulate the immune system, diminish the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, and protect the cells’ DNA.
Turkey Tail is another well-known medicinal mushroom in alternative medicine. Studies show it improves survival rates, modulates (balances out) the immune system and has anti-tumor properties. It also enhances the beneficial effects of chemotherapy and reduces side effects.
Cordyceps acts an immune stimulator by increasing cancer-fighting T cells and ‘Natural Killer’ cells, while prolonging the life and power of white blood cells. This increases the body’s ability to fight pathogens, infections and cancer. It has demonstrated anti-tumor properties and also protects the kidneys from chemotherapy.
Maitake mushroom works on the immune system. Studies have shown that it can enhance two different immune system pathways, helping it fight infection and protecting the body from invaders like cancer. Maitake also protects cells with its antioxidant properties and decreases the inflammatory factor COX2 enzyme so common in cancer physiology. Maitake also fights metastases and prevents the the proliferation and spread of cancer.
Pomegranates have been used for many, many years for a variety of diseases and illnesses like cancer. Pomegranates contain strong antioxidants, and are a rich source of anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and hydrolysable tannins.
Studies show that the pomegranate has a multi-targeted attack against various types of cancers, which is one of the reasons pomegranates are so effective. It does this by protecting against DNA damage, stopping the spread of cancer in the body, decreasing inflammation, protecting healthy cells and causing cancer cell apoptosis (cell death). Pomegranate is effective against a wide variety of cancers.
Berries, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, black raspberries, cherries, elderberries, and bilberries are all loaded with a cancer-fighting substance called anthocyanins. Blackberries, black raspberries and blueberries, in particular, have some of the highest levels of this health-promoting phytochemical. Anthocyanins slow the growth of pre-malignant (cancer) cells and prevent new blood vessels from forming which would feed a cancerous tumor.
10. Orange Colored Vegetables
Bright colored vegetables means that they are loaded with phytochemicals, especially antioxidants called carotenoids which fight cancer. Other carotenoids include alphacarotene, betacarotene, lycopene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin, which are all related to plant-based vitamin A.
Including citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, red peppers, tomatoes and other bright red, orange or yellow vegetables will help to get plenty of these powerful carotenoids in your diet. Betacarotene has been well-studied and is known to be essential for a strong immune system, detoxing the body, and fighting cancers of the skin, eyes and organs. ‘Eating the rainbow’ helps to give your body a full spectrum of these powerful cancer-fighting tools.
This list is by no means complete—there are literally hundreds of foods, herbs and spices that fight cancer, and by eating a variety of fresh, organic, naturally raised foods—along with limiting the toxins in your diet and environment, you can begin the healing process.
In addition to the above cancer-fighting foods, overall nutrition is extremely important. Every bite you put into your mouth should be a nutritious super-food. Strengthening your body, powering up your immune system and optimizing your health as much as possible is key to your health and longevity.
Be sure to include plenty of healthy proteins in your diet. While this is a plant-heavy diet, it by no means is a vegan diet. A healing body needs protein to rebuild itself. Supplement with small amounts of naturally-raised, grass-fed and grass finished meats, organic, pastured raised poultry and eggs, and wild caught fish. Meat, poultry and fish raised in a natural environment without added hormones, antibiotics or grain will nourish and protect your body while it fights cancer.
Add in bone broth to soothe and heal the digestive system while strengthening and fortifying it. Bone broth is valuable to help soothe and remove inflammation in the gut. Often gut issues are a basis for overall inflammation in the body–one of the starting points for cancer growth.
Healthy fats are also key to good nutrition and good health to fight cancer. Avoid toxic, processed vegetable oils and instead consume plenty of natural healthy fats like grass-fed butter, organic, unrefined coconut oil, and high antioxidant extra virgin olive oil. And be sure to add in the cancer fighting healthy fats of unprocessed nuts, avocados, and grass-fed organic dairy products, especially cultured dairy products like organic (unsweetened) yogurt and unprocessed cheeses.
Above all, keep a healthy mindset, meditate, de-stress, and love your body and yourself. Your body needs your attention now to recover and regain health. Give gratitude and appreciation for those supportive people in your life and appreciate living. Every day is a new day. Take care and have faith!
For more information on detoxifying, cancer-fighting foods, meal plans, and recipes, look for my new book in 2019 on Cancer Fighting Foods.