Top 5 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods

Photo credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan CC-BY-1.0

Being diagnosed with any cancer can be a frightening experience, and just hearing the “C” word can be terrifying enough. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated one-third of cancer deaths can be linked to a poor diet and inactivity. Genetic and environmental factors also play a role. However, the good news is that you can fight disease and live longer by making healthier food choices, including a variety of superfoods, and getting more exercise.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae superfood that is abundant in vitamins, minerals, protein and carotenoids, antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including beta-carotene, B complex vitamins, manganese, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, iron, copper and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).  In A Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, Mark Stengler ND, writes “spirulina stimulates natural killer cells and similar anti-immune components of the immune system that can help fight cancer cells. Laboratory studies also show that spirulina polysaccharides can work to repair genetic material that has been damaged from toxins or from radiation.”

Chlorella
 

Chlorella is another nutrient-dense superfood that offers a powerful punch against cancer. In Prescription for Dietary Wellness, Phyllis A. Balch explains, “Chlorella…contains the highest chlorophyll level per ounce of any plant, as well as protein (nearly 58 percent), carbohydrates, all of the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, amino acids (including all nine essential ones), enzymes and rare trace minerals.” In Treating Cancer with Herbs, Michael Tierra, writes “due to its dense and nutrient-rich nature, chlorella offers your body a two-fold attack against cancer. You can access these benefits by taking only one or two teaspoons of chlorella once or twice daily.”

Mushrooms

Several types of mushrooms, such as Maitake, Shiitake and Reishi, help to stengthen the immune system and may help the body in its fight against cancer. Compounds in the mushrooms called polysaccharides can assist in building immunity. Lectin, which is a protein, may also fight cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage may provide protection against certain cancers including colon, bladder and breast cancers. Cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals called isothiocyanates, which stimulate our bodies to break down potential carcinogens. Sulforaphane, found in broccoli and in broccoli sprouts, is a well-known isothiocyanate, which stimulates the body to produce enzymes that detoxify carcinogens. Also, according to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, many cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, a compound that affects sex-hormone metabolism involved with the progression of prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Men between 40 and 64 who ate three or more half-cup servings of cruciferous vegetables a week were 41 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Berries

Fresh, organic berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are abundant in nutrients and antioxidants which may slow or prevent the development of cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, all berries are abundant in a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which has shown the ability to prevent cancers of the breast, skin, lung, bladder and esophagus. Ellagic acid also acts as an antioxidant, helping the body to neutralize specific carcinogens and slow the reproduction of cancer cells.

 

Beachbody

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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